11 Words To Express Anger

12 Shades Of Angry

Anger is a rough emotion, and it often gets the best of us in trouble. There are many different words that are synonymous with anger – but that doesn’t mean they all have the exact same meaning. Some of these words are very close to one another, and a small shade of emotion is the only thing separating them. We’re ranking these according to the degree of the emotion involved. Just imagine the mercury in the thermometer slowly rising (you have to work yourself up to the heavy hitters at the end).

Are there any we’ve missed? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook (dictionarycom).


Annoyed is a mild irritation (this word is a bit of a “sub-emotion” to anger). After you’re annoyed with someone or something, the frustration builds and you end up full-tilt angry. When you first become annoyed, it’s usually over something small. Here’s an example—say someone parked in your spot at work. This gets you annoyed. You speak to them, they apologize because they were in a hurry, and you leave it at that. Then they repeat this behavior three more times in the course of a week. This is when the anger part kicks in. Aggravated is a similar word. There’s not a huge difference between the words—just a degree of emotion.


It feels like it’s easier than ever to be offended. Why? Because now there are multiple platforms to be offended on. Just pull out a hashtag and before you know it, bam! Offended. A totally fictional example: “I celebrate a particular holiday, so when I went to get coffee I was offended that the cups aren’t also celebrating it.” Are you really offended, or do you just feel like tossing that out there to see if it gets a reaction? Certainly, there are legitimate reasons to get offended. It’s just these days, people can hop on #offended soapboxes to tell us that they are.


Sullen is a low profile variant of anger. While anger usually manifests itself it rather demonstrative fashion, if you’re sullen, you’re power-moping. It’s more of a visual thing. “He sat sullenly in the corner, avoiding eye contact with everyone else.” Gloomy is a nice cousin word.


This word has a decidedly retro feel to it. Sure enough, our definition shows it to be a 1960-1965 Americanism. Turn on the Brady Bunch, and Greg says “Man, Dad was really uptight because I got home after midnight!” We define this slang adjective as “tense, nervous, or jittery.” Sure, Mike and Carol were jittery that it was after midnight, and Greg probably just got his driver’s license. But they were only going to the malt shoppe, so no big deal.


This is kinda what you feel like when you’re running out of patience, no? Example—the toilet breaks. So you have the guy over. He fixes it. Then it breaks again. And he fixes it again. Repeat this a couple of more times, and presto! You’re exasperated. We say “to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely: “He was exasperated by the senseless delays.” Maybe a next-level cousin to annoyed.


This is kind of a tough one to pin down. It brings to mind someone in London acting rather, oh let’s see—miffed. Dictionary.com cites indignant as a “feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base: indignant remarks; an indignant expression on his face.”


Have you ever felt resentful? Say you worked on a project at the office with a co-worker, and the boss ends up praising the co-worker and leaving you out. Next stop, resentful-city. This one is totally tied to your ego. Being resentful (which happens when you feel resentment) is an emotion that can really do some damage.


If you’re bitter, you’ve taken resentful to the next level. Look at some of our definitions. As an adjective, bitter means “characterized by intense antagonism or hostility,” and “resentful or cynical.” If you are these things, there are some issues on the table.


If you’re irate, you’re just plain mad (though we offer enraged as a definition, so that might be even more extreme). This isn’t a word used much anymore, is it? It seems old fashioned, or a word the TV news anchor might use. Or maybe retail customers. Example: “The woman was irate that they served her cold French fries, so she dumped them on the counter.”


A cousin to enraged. If you’re furious, you are full of fury (naturally), violent passion, or rage. In other words, you’re extremely angry. Furious was, of course, also used in a rather successful movie franchise about fast cars and smashing things.


This one has a definite social media connotation. Everyone these days is always outraged about something. An author on Medium suggests we just go ahead and blame the media. That’s an easy and obvious target, though. The pervasiveness of social media and the ease and speed in which we can communicate has made it easier than ever to express your anger. Did we say social media? Oh boy, if you want to show the world you’re outraged, JUST HIT THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON.

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