Post by Peter Moylan Post by Peter Young Post by Spains Harden
America's own refugee crisis is overlooked - in this group and in society
generally. The terrible refugee crisis documented in The Grapes of Wrath
(last word pronounced to rhyme with BrE "math").
"Math" isn't a BrE word. We use it in the plural, always.
Algebra is my favourite mathematic.
Is that really true about wrath? I rhyme it with moth.
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
This is a very confusing set of words. OED says:
wroth, adj. 'angry' Old English wráþ (related to "writhe")
This word has been "rare" since about 1500. But it got into the
KJ Bible, so everybody's seen it.
wrath, n. 'anger' Old English wrǽððu (Any other examples of nouns
derived from adjectives according to this pattern?)
A little less obsolete, but my impression is that _at least_ since
1800 it has not been an everyday word -- it's used in poetry,
sermons and anywhere else people want to put on a little style.
wrath, adj. 'angry'.
Not common, but attested 1535-1862.
"variant of wroth adj., probably by association with wrath n."
So the two words, known mainly from books, are getting confused
with each other.
wroth, n. 'anger' (obsolete)
Examples 1400-1663. "< wroth adj., replacing wrath n. or wrethe n."
Confused? You are following sound English tradition.
The upshot is that (again per OED):
wroth 'angry' is pronounced in BrEng to rhyme with either "both" or "broth".
For AmEng they give two alternatives which appear to be identical,
so we turn to Jones XVIII.
They add the option (for BrEng) of rhyming it with the beginning of
"author". For AmEng it can have either the "caught" or "cot" vowel.
wrath 'anger' is either "broth" or "auth-" in BrEng, "bath" in AmEng
Going back 70-80 years, Jones 1940 (BrEng) does not allow "wroth" to
rhyme with "both".
And Kenyon & Knott 1944 (AmEng), while giving the "bath" as the normal
rhyme for wrath, note that "Eastern" speakers may also use an "ah",
vowel (i.e. BATH/TRAP split?) or the "cot" vowel.
I'd say a chronic confusion of the two words (like thee/thou, ye/you),
assisted by some spelling pronunciation, has produced this mess.