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A persistent feeling of anger or resentment combined with a strong desire to express it or retaliate.

Hostility is a strong impulse inspired by feelings of anger or resentment. Though hostile impulses are normal, and everyone has them from time to time (for example, when frustrated, offended, or deprived of something), a hostile person feels those impulses regularly. She or he is always ready to take offense or feel frustrated in some way. This is often described as "having a chip on one's shoulder." Hostility can play a part in anxiety attacks, depression, compulsions, and paranoia. On a larger scale, hostility leads to violent crime, invasions, wars, and other acts of aggression.

Further Reading

Lerner, Harriet Goldhor. The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships. New York: Perennial Library, Harper & Row, 1989.

Williams, Redford, M.D., and Virginia Williams, Ph.D. Anger Kills: Seventeen Strategies for Controlling the Hostility that Can Harm Your Health. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993.

Additional topics

Psychology EncyclopediaPsychological Dictionary: Kenneth John William Craik Biography to Jami (Mulla Nuruddin ʼAbdurrahman ibn-Ahmad Biography