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Anathema vs. Hate — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 21, 2024
Anathema is something or someone intensely disliked or cursed, often with a formal denunciation, while hate is an intense feeling of dislike or aversion towards someone or something.
Anathema vs. Hate — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Anathema and Hate


Key Differences

Anathema refers to a strong, often religious condemnation of a person or thing, implying complete rejection and shunning. It is typically used in more formal or serious contexts. Hate, on the other hand, is a broad term that describes an intense feeling of dislike or aversion. It is more commonly used in everyday language to express strong negative feelings.
Anathema can denote both the act of cursing someone and the person or thing being cursed. It often implies that the subject is beyond redemption or reform. This term is used less frequently in casual speech and more in written or formal contexts. Hate, in contrast, is frequently used in both spoken and written language. It encompasses a range of negative emotions from mild dislike to extreme loathing. Hate can be directed towards people, objects, situations, or even ideas.
Anathema also conveys a sense of official disapproval or excommunication, particularly in religious or organizational settings. For instance, a doctrine that goes against core beliefs may be declared anathema. Hate does not imply any formal action or declaration. It is a personal emotion and can exist without any outward expression or consequence. One can hate silently without any outward signs or formal statements.

Comparison Chart


Formal curse or intense dislike, often religious
Intense feeling of dislike or aversion

Usage Context

Formal, serious, religious or organizational
Everyday language, informal to formal


Strong condemnation, rejection
Broad range from dislike to extreme loathing


Beyond redemption, excommunication
Personal emotion, no formal action implied

Frequency in Language

Less common, more specific
More common, general use

Compare with Definitions


A formal curse by a religious authority.
The doctrine was considered anathema by the church.


Intense dislike or aversion.
She felt nothing but hate for the oppressive regime.


A vehement denunciation.
The politician's actions were anathema to his former supporters.


An emotion of intense revulsion.
The hate between the rival teams was palpable.


A person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation.
He was regarded as anathema by his colleagues after the scandal.


To feel extreme hostility towards someone or something.
He began to hate his job after years of monotonous work.


The state of being accursed or condemned.
They felt they were living in anathema due to their controversial beliefs.


An aversion to something that is considered unpleasant.
She had a hate for early morning meetings.


Something or someone that is detested or shunned.
Her views on the matter were anathema to the conservative group.


To feel strong dislike for or hostility toward
Rivals who hate each other.


Anathema, in common usage, is something or someone detested or shunned. In its other main usage, it is a formal excommunication.


To feel dislike or distaste for
Hates washing dishes.
Hates to get up early.


A formal ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication.


To be disinclined (to do something) out of politeness or a need to apologize
I hate to interrupt, but can I ask you a quick question?.


A vehement denunciation; a curse
"the sound of a witch's anathemas in some unknown tongue" (Nathaniel Hawthorne).


To feel hatred.


One that is cursed or damned.


Intense animosity or dislike; hatred.


One that is greatly reviled, loathed, or shunned
"Essentialism—a belief in natural, immutable sex differences—is anathema to postmodernists, for whom sexuality itself, along with gender, is a 'social construct'" (Wendy Kaminer).


An object of hatred.
One of my pet hates is traffic wardens.


A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, often accompanied by excommunication; something denounced as accursed.


He gave me a look filled with pure hate.


(by extension) Something which is vehemently disliked by somebody.


(Internet slang) Negative feedback, abusive behaviour.
There was a lot of hate in the comments on my vlog about Justin Bieber from his fans.


(literary) An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.


(transitive) To dislike intensely or greatly.


(ecclesiastical) Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority to unending punishment.


(intransitive) To experience hatred.
Do not fear; he who fears hates; he who hates kills. — attributed to Gandhi


A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, and accompanied by excommunication. Hence: Denunciation of anything as accursed.
[They] denounce anathemas against unbelievers.


To have a great aversion to, with a strong desire that evil should befall the person toward whom the feeling is directed; to dislike intensely; to detest; as, to hate one's enemies; to hate hypocrisy.
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.


An imprecation; a curse; a malediction.
Finally she fled to London followed by the anathemas of both [families].


To be very unwilling; followed by an infinitive, or a substantive clause with that; as, to hate to get into debt; to hate that anything should be wasted.
I hate that he should linger here.


Any person or thing anathematized, or cursed by ecclesiastical authority.
The Jewish nation were an anathema destined to destruction. St. Paul . . . says he could wish, to save them from it, to become an anathema, and be destroyed himself.


To love less, relatively.


A detested person;
He is an anathema to me


Strong aversion coupled with desire that evil should befall the person toward whom the feeling is directed; as exercised toward things, intense dislike; hatred; detestation; - opposed to love.
For in a wink the false love turns to hate.


A formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication


The emotion of hate; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action


Dislike intensely; feel antipathy or aversion towards;
I hate Mexican food
She detests politicians


A deep-seated enmity.
Their feud was fueled by mutual hate.

Common Curiosities

Can "hate" refer to mild dislike?

No, "hate" typically implies a stronger, more intense feeling than mild dislike.

Can "hate" be both a noun and a verb?

Yes, "hate" can function as both a noun (e.g., a feeling of hate) and a verb (e.g., to hate someone).

Does "anathema" always have a religious connotation?

While often used in religious contexts, "anathema" can also refer to anything intensely disliked or shunned.

Is "anathema" a common term in modern language?

It is less common and often found in formal or specific contexts.

What are some synonyms for "anathema"?

Synonyms include "curse," "ban," "execration," and "denunciation."

What is the origin of the word "anathema"?

The word "anathema" originates from Greek, where it meant "an offering" or "something dedicated."

Is "anathema" used in everyday conversation?

No, "anathema" is more commonly used in formal or written contexts.

Is "hate" inherently negative?

Yes, "hate" is a strong negative emotion.

What are some synonyms for "hate"?

Synonyms include "loathing," "detest," "abhor," and "despise."

Can "hate" be used to describe both people and things?

Yes, "hate" can describe strong negative feelings towards both people and things.

Does "anathema" imply an action taken against someone or something?

Often, yes, especially in historical or religious contexts where it involved formal condemnation.

Can "hate" have different intensities?

Yes, "hate" can range from strong dislike to intense loathing.

Is "anathema" used metaphorically?

Yes, it can be used metaphorically to describe something detested or avoided.

Can "anathema" be reversed or lifted?

Historically, once something or someone was anathema, it was considered irredeemable, though context matters.

Is "hate" always outwardly expressed?

No, "hate" can be felt internally without any outward expression.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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