The intense feeling when you think about a bad person who is doing very bad things. You would want something bad to happen to this person.

You feel hate for a person whom you think is inherently bad and capable of doing bad things1. For example, you may feel hate for someone who has deliberately hurt you or a loved one in the past, for someone who has gravely betrayed your trust, or someone who has deeply harmed your self-identity.

Among all negative emotions, hate is probably the most infamous one2. It is often seen as a purely destructive emotion that we would be better without. Although it does often do more bad than good, hate can be a functional response in some cases, as it drives us to avoid or banish certain people based on their actions.

Unlike anger-emotions, hate is directed at a whole person rather than a specific action or event. It involves the belief that the other person is inherently bad or evil, and that there is little to no chance that this could change. This belief is usually not established from a single action, but a pattern of behavior. Furthermore, because you think this person is bad beyond change, you believe there is no point in any constructive approach. Rather, you just wish something bad would happen to them, or at least, that they would disappear from your life. Although hate can definitely lead to violent behavior, this is not necessarily the case, depending on the person and the situation. Often, someone will just avoid the hated person. If that is not possible, for example, because they work closely together, other strategies are used to create psychological distance1.

Hate can also be directed towards groups, a form that is often actively stimulated in wartime3. Hating the enemy can relieve feelings of guilt for one’s own wrongdoings.

The word ‘hate’ is subject to some inflation in everyday use, as it is much more often used than the emotion actually occurs. For instance, someone may say he ‘hates’ a type of music, when he merely dislikes it, or that he hates a colleague, when she merely annoys him.

In the comic, Murphy finds out that his colleague Patrick, who earlier asked him to trust him with his presentation, has been going behind his back. To add insult to injury, he has been actively lobbying to cut back on Murphy’s department.

Movie clips


Typical expressions

“He is just a horrible person.”

“I hope I’ll never have to see her again.”

Murphy's bad day

Comparisons with other emotions

Hate & Contempt

Contempt and hate are both negative evaluations of a person. For example, a group of soldiers may feel both contempt and hate towards a fellow soldier who betrayed them and defected to the other side. The important difference is that hate is an evaluation that someone is evil or dangerous, whereas contempt judges someone to be inferiorX. In the example of the soldiers, the contempt is directed at the defected soldier’s lack of loyalty and patriotism, while the hate is directed at the fact that the soldier puts his comrades at danger. Someone can feel contempt for a very lazy person, but not hate him, because he poses no threat. Similarly, someone can feel hate for a tough competitor, as they pose a threat, but not feel contempt, because they are not seen as inferior.

Hate & Anger

When you hate a person, you are likely to also be angry with them. However, the opposite is often not true. For example, a father can be angry with his children, but this does not mean that he hates them. An important difference is that anger evaluates someone’s action (you did something bad), whereas hate evaluates and entire person (you are bad). This also means that anger is usually temporary: if the person has apologized or if they have changed their behavior, there is no need to keep being angry. Hate, on the other hand, is more enduring. If you hate a person, you are convinced that they are beyond improvement, so it will likely last a long time, if not forever.

Sources and further reading