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The English language is replete with proverbs, idioms, and sayings that have been passed down through generations, offering nuggets of wisdom and insights into human nature. One such proverb that stands out is “Anger is the one thing made better by delay.” This age-old saying carries a valuable lesson about the power of patience and restraint in managing our emotions. In this article, we will explore the meaning of this proverb, provide examples of its use in everyday conversation, and delve into its possible origins.

The Meaning of the Proverb

The proverb “Anger is the one thing made better by delay” encapsulates the idea that allowing time to pass before reacting to a provocation or source of anger can lead to better outcomes. It underscores the importance of not acting impulsively in moments of anger, as doing so often results in rash decisions and unintended consequences. Instead, taking a step back, allowing emotions to cool, and gaining a clearer perspective can lead to more rational and constructive responses.

Examples in Everyday Conversation

  1. In Family Conflicts:
    • Imagine a heated argument between two siblings over a borrowed item that was returned damaged. One sibling, feeling infuriated, is tempted to retaliate with harsh words or actions. The other, wise beyond their years, advises, “Anger is the one thing made better by delay. Let’s both cool down and discuss this later when we can find a solution without hurting each other.”
  2. In Professional Settings:
    • In a stressful workplace, an employee receives a strongly worded email from their boss criticizing their performance. Instead of firing off an immediate response in anger, the employee remembers the proverb and decides to take some time to collect their thoughts. After a calm reflection, they reply professionally and address the concerns, leading to a more constructive dialogue.
  3. In Romantic Relationships:
    • A couple gets into a heated argument about a trivial matter. Instead of continuing the fight, one partner says, “You know, anger is the one thing made better by delay. Let’s both take a breather, and we can discuss this later when we’re both calmer and more rational.”

Possible Origins

The exact origin of this English proverb remains somewhat unclear, as proverbs often evolve over time and are passed down through oral tradition. However, it is believed to be a derivative of a longer saying, “Anger is often more hurtful than the injury that caused it.” This longer version highlights the notion that acting out of anger can sometimes cause more harm than the initial offense.

One can speculate that the proverb evolved as people recognized the consequences of impulsive reactions driven by anger. Over time, it was condensed into the concise and memorable form we know today. Its wisdom has stood the test of time because it resonates with the universal human experience of grappling with anger and the desire for more measured responses.


“Anger is the one thing made better by delay” serves as a valuable reminder of the importance of emotional control and restraint. In a world where anger can lead to regrettable actions and strained relationships, this proverb encourages us to pause, take a step back, and allow our emotions to settle before reacting. By doing so, we can make wiser decisions, foster healthier relationships, and ultimately lead more fulfilling lives. This timeless piece of wisdom continues to hold relevance in our modern world, where the pressures and stresses of daily life can easily ignite our tempers.


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