Wrath vs. Rath

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Wrath and rath are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of wrath and rath, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Wrath is extreme anger, rage, or fury. Wrath is a noun, related words are wrathless and wrathful. The word wrath is derived from the Old English word wræððu, which means anger. Note that wrath is one or a group of words that is spelled with a silent w. These words have evolved from Germanic origins. Before the seventeenth century, the w in words beginning with wr was pronounced.

Rath may be used as an archaeological term to mean an Irish, circular earthenwork built for a chief. Rath may also describe a chariot used in a ceremony in India. Both of these definitions are used fairly rarely, and most of the time when one sees the word rath, it is a misspelling of the word wrath.


HAMBURG (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump arrived for a G20 summit in Hamburg on Thursday risking isolation on climate policy and the wrath of anti-capitalist protesters threatening to disrupt the meeting of the world’s leading economic powers. (The Business Insider)

A deputy governor in the North Rift region was forced to face the wrath of angry voters at a public event when he tried to popularize his boss. (The Standard)

We may have been spared Bret’s wrath but the trail he left has again jolted us into the reality that we are very unprepared for a serious natural disaster. (The Trinidad and Tobago Express)

“As recorded in Anthony Holten’s book, On Ancient Roads, from the Grand Jury Acts we know that the portion of the N2 from the Rath Cross near Ashbourne to Pat Byrne’s lane (the pump) near Rathdrina was constructed in approximately 1810.” (The Meath Chronicle)

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