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Outrage is a strong moral emotion characterized by a combination of surprise, disgust,[1] and anger,[2] usually in reaction to a grave personal offense.[3] It comes from old French and meant "beyond rage".[4]

Moral outrage is the emotion of outrage experienced in reaction to an injustice, as such involving a moral judgement, and is often accompanied by a desire to shame and/or punish wrongdoers.[5]


Faux outrageEdit

The 21stC and its social media have seen an increased display of faux outrage, with power and prestige being hypocritically sought by professing concern for others.[6]

Historical and sociological examplesEdit

  • Kate Fox in her anthropology of the English observed that drunkenness came with a standardised set of outrages to perform, ranging from swearing and scuffling up to mooning.[8] She also noted how “the English take great pleasure in being shocked and outraged, and righteous indignation is one of our favourite national pastimes, but the feelings expressed are nonetheless genuine”.[9]

Literary examplesEdit

  • At the climax of The Libation Bearers, Orestes, murderously confronting his mother over her murder of his father, exclaims “You killed and it was outrage – suffer outrage now”.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Interactive Effect of Anger and Disgust on Moral Outrage and Judgments".
  2. ^ "Robert Plutchik's Psychoevolutionary Theory of Basic Emotions" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-06-05.
  3. ^ "Outrage – Definition of Outrage by Merriam-Webster".
  4. ^ "outrage: definition of outrage in Oxford dictionary (American English)".
  5. ^ Crockett, M. J. (18 September 2017). "Moral outrage in the digital age". Nature Human Behaviour. 1 (11): 769–771. doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0213-3. PMID 31024117.
  6. ^ J Brewer, Sociology of Everyday Life Peacemaking (2018) p. 38-9
  7. ^ Quoted in G Austen, George Gascoigne (Cambridge 2008) p. 187 and p. 194
  8. ^ K Fox Watching the English (Hodder 2004) p. 382
  9. ^ K Fox Watching the English (Hodder 2004) p. 300
  10. ^ Aeschylus, The Oresteia' (Penguin 1981) p. 219

External linksEdit