Learn English – Anger vs. Wrath


Could you, please, explain the difference between the words 'anger' and 'wrath'?

Merriam & Webster says

transitive verb
to make angry: he was angered by the decision
intransitive verb
to become angry

1. strong vengeful anger or indignation
2. retributory punishment for an offense or a crime : divine chastisement

It seems to me that the latter has rather positive aspect than negative.

Best Answer

The American Heritage Dictionary provides a good definition of wrath that aligns well with some of the comments above:

  1. Forceful, often vindictive anger.


He feared the wrath of his employer.

Wrath can also mean:

  1. Punishment or vengeance as a manifestation of anger.


He decided to risk the wrath of the authorities and go ahead with the plan.

In a religious context, wrath can also have a more specific meaning of divine retribution for wrongdoing or sin.


You broke the divine law by murdering your brother and must suffer the wrath of the Almighty.

Some sources note that wrath can imply righteous anger (similar to the above):

righteous indignation and condemnation especially of a deity or sovereign

(Webster's Unabridged)

It can also be used humorously in certain contexts:

wrath: extreme anger (chiefly used for humorous or rhetorical effect)

(Oxford American Dictionary)