AskDefine | Define wroth

The Collaborative Dictionary

Wroth \Wroth\, a. [OE. wroth, wrap, AS. wr[=a][eth] wroth, crooked, bad; akin to wr[imac][eth]an to writhe, and to OS. wr[=e][eth]angry, D. wreed cruel, OHG. reid twisted, Icel. rei[eth]r angry, Dan. & Sw. vred. See Writhe, and cf. Wrath.] Full of wrath; angry; incensed; much exasperated; wrathful. "Wroth to see his kingdom fail." --Milton. [1913 Webster] Revel and truth as in a low degree, They be full wroth [i. e., at enmity] all day. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. --Gen. iv.
[1913 Webster]

Word Net

wroth adj : vehemently incensed and condemnatory; "they trembled before the wrathful queen"; "but wroth as he was, a short struggle ended in reconciliation" [syn: wrathful, wrothful]

Moby Thesaurus

angered, angry, browned-off, cross, heated, incensed, indignant, irate, ireful, livid, mad, pissed, pissed-off, riled up, sore, ticked off, waxy, worked up, wrathful, wrathy, wrought-up



Old English wrāþ, from Germanic. Cognate with Dutch wreed, Swedish vred.


  • /rɑθ/, /rAT/ italbrac US


  1. Full of anger; wrathful.


  • But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
  • 1793, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel
    And to be wroth with one we love,
    Doth work like madness in the brain.

Related terms



Lady Mary Wroth (1587–1651/3) was an English poet of the Renaissance. A member of a distinguished literary English family, Wroth was among the first female British writers to have achieved an enduring reputation. She is perhaps best known for having written The Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania, the first extant prose romance by an English woman, and for Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, the first known sonnet sequence by an English woman.


Wroth was born in 1587 to Barbara Gamage and Robert Sidney. Her mother, a cousin of Sir Walter Ralegh, was a wealthy heiress; her father, while less well-off, was heir of a distinguished family. His father, Henry Sidney, had governed Ireland; his sister Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke was a distinguished patron and translator; and his elder brother Philip Sidney was among the most famous of Elizabethan poet-courtiers.
Because Robert Sidney had been appointed governor of Flushing, Netherlands, Wroth spent much of her childhood at the home of Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke. With her family connections, a career at court was all but inevitable. She danced before Elizabeth at Penshurst and at court; her likeness as a child is captured in a surviving painting Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. James I married her to Robert Wroth, of Loughton Hall, Essex, one of his favourites, in 1604. The marriage was not happy; Robert Wroth appears to have been a gambler, philanderer, and drunkard, and when he died he left her deeply in debt. There is no evidence to suggest that Wroth was unfaithful to her husband, but after his death, she deviated from the normal path of a widow and entered into a relationship with her cousin, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke. Textual accounts suggest that the relationship produced at least two illegitimate children.
In 1605 Wroth danced at the Whitehall Banqueting House in the Masque of Blackness by Ben Jonson, the Queen's Twelfth Night entertainment. Her father was one of Jonson's patrons, and in 1612 the playwright dedicated his famous comedy The Alchemist to her. Her own play, Love's Victory, explores varieties of love.
In the years after becoming a widow, Wroth wrote her long prose romance, The Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania, dedicated to her kinswoman the Countess of Montgomery. The publication of the book in 1621 was a success de scandale, as it was widely (and with some justification) viewed as a roman à clef. The diffuse plot is organized around relations between Pamphilia and her wandering lover, Amphilanthus, and most critics consider it to contain significant autobiographical elements. Edward Denny, Baron of Waltham, accused her in a satiric poem of slander, and while she returned fire in a poem of her own, the notoriety of the episode may have contributed to her low profile in the last decades of her life. She wrote a continuation of the Urania, but did not publish it; she died in either 1651 or 1653.

External links


Verzella, Massimo “Hid as worthless rite”. Scrittura femminile nell’Inghilterra di re Giacomo: Elizabeth Cary e Mary Wroth, Roma, Aracne, 2007.
Verzella, Massimo, “The Renaissance Englishwoman’s Entry into Print: Authorizing Strategies”, The Atlantic Critical Review, III, 3 (July-September 2004), pp. 1-19;
wroth in Italian: Mary Wroth
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