Difference Between Mad and Angry

Key Difference – Mad vs Angry

Although the two words, mad and angry are used interchangeably by most of us, there is a difference between the two words. First let us look at the definitions of the words. Angry is used to refer to feelings of displeasure or resentment. Mad, on the other hand, can be used to refer to many things. Firstly it gives the idea that the individual is insane or mentally deranged. Secondly it is used as a synonym for angry in colloquial language. Therefore, the key difference between mad and angry is that mad is a colloquial term for anger while anger refers to feelings of displeasure or resentment. Through this article let us examine the difference between mad and angry further.

What Does Mad Mean?

Mad is an adjective of the English language used to describe nouns. This word can be used to generate several meanings.  Firstly it can be used to refer to an insane person, activity or even an idea.

They say he is mad.

The man whom the villagers believed to be mad walked the streets alone.

It can also be used to refer to something foolish or impractical.

Are you mad?

He must be mad to propose such a thing to the committee.

Although I thought it was a mad idea, no one paid any attention to what I said.

Mad can be used to refer to anger as well.

She was mad at me for not turning up as I promised.

He was mad at her for lying.

Other than these meanings, it can also be used for eccentric characters as well as to show enthusiasm such as in the case of hobbies.

Difference Between Mad and Angry

What Does Angry Mean?

The word angry is an adjective in the English language. Hence, it can be used to describe a noun. This word is mostly used when we wish to express our displeasure or resentment. For instance when we are treated unfairly, or when we are subjected to unnecessary scolding it is natural to feel angry. For example, a child who is grounded for misbehaving feels angry because he is hurt and feels that he was treated unfairly.

Anger can be directed towards others or else it can be self-directed. Let us comprehend this through an example. A child can feel angry when he fails an exam. Here the anger can either be directed at someone for not teaching properly or else towards himself for not working hard enough. Psychologists believe that being angry is a natural emotion just as happiness and sadness. It is only when it is out of control that it can damage the person.

Now let us pay attention to some sentences to understand how the word can be used.

Her angry words hurt him deeply.

He felt angry at the response of the employer.

She was so angry at her parents that she ran away.

The little boy was angry with his friends for not letting him win.

Key Difference - Mad vs Angry

What is the difference between Mad and Angry?

Definitions of Mad and Angry:

Mad: Mad can be used to refer to a mentally deranged person or else to express feelings of displeasure.

Angry: Angry is used chiefly to express feelings of displeasure and resentment.

Characteristics of Mad and Angry:


Mad: Mad is used in the colloquial language to express anger.

Angry: Angry can only be used for expressions of displeasure.

Alternative meanings:

Mad: Mad can also be used to refer to insanity.

Angry: The word angry does not consist of an alternative meaning.


Image Courtesy:
1. “Mad scientist” by J.J. at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
2. Anger Controlls Him By Jessica Flavin from London area, England (Anger Controlls Him) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons