- Old English wrað "angry" (literally "tormented, twisted”), from Proto-Germanic *wraithaz (cf. Old Frisian wreth "evil," Old Saxon wred, Middle Dutch wret, Dutch wreed "cruel," Old High German reid, Old Norse reiðr "angry, offended"), from PIE *wreit- "to turn" (see wreath). Rare or obsolete from early 16c. to mid-19c., but somewhat revived since, especially in dignified writing, or this exchange:
Secretary: "The Dean is furious. He's waxing wroth."
Quincy Adams Wagstaf [Groucho]: "Is Roth out there too? Tell Roth to wax the Dean for a while."
["Horse Feathers," 1932]