Learn English – Anger vs. Wrath

differencesmeaning

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

Merriam & Webster says

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

wrath
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.

Example:

He feared the wrath of his employer.

Wrath can also mean:

  1. Punishment or vengeance as a manifestation of anger.

Example:

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.

Example:

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)