What is the proper preposition to follow the noun hatred?

  1. Do we have a hatred for Buddhism?

  2. Do we have a hatred of Buddhism?

  3. Do we have a hatred against Buddhism?

These are all just examples. It’s not my actual sentence that I wish to form.

  • Of or towards seem idiomatic to me; for and against not so much. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 31 '14 at 23:26

The actual usage stats from the Corpus of Contemporary American English and the British National Corpus look as follows:

                   COCA    BNC

hatred of           763   181
hatred for          382    57
hatred against       40     6
hatred toward        73     0
hatred towards       31    12
hatred at            11    14

Obviously these figures will include some noise, where the object of the preposition is not actually the object of the hatred (stuff like "hatred of epic proportions", "I traded my hatred for love", and so on), but for recognizing the overall trend they are sufficient: all three of your options are options, but if you want to be on the safe side, you should pick of over against — and when writing for a British audience, you might even wish to pick it over for.

Edit: I have now taken a look at every single cite (yes, all 1570 of them), and here are the cleaned-up figures:

                   COCA    BNC

hatred of           738   173
hatred for          380    58
hatred against       41     6
hatred toward        74     0
hatred towards       31    12
hatred at             3     2

As you can see, the picture does not really change. One reason for that being that quite often a false positive for one preposition was a false negative for another ("hatred of the American people for Iranians", "hatred of millions toward U.S.", "hatred of Arab against Arab"), which is how some of the numbers have actually managed to go up.

Another interesting thing to observe was parallel constructions whose authors went out of their way to use of: "hatred of, and shame for, sin"; "outright hatred of and violence against women"; "I didn't have any great love for or hatred of Shakespeare". (There were no examples of this behavior for prepositions other than of, but then again their sample sizes were considerably smaller.)

  • I’m surprised for scores so high. I cannot think of any non-noise contexts where hatred for doesn’t sound strange to my ear. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 1 '14 at 0:10
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Here are canned query results of hatred for for your perusal. The COCA results favor of over for by 2:1, whilst the BNC favour of over for by 3:1. – tchrist Sep 1 '14 at 0:30
  • Could the sentence structure have an influence on which option sounds better? I have no scientific evidence, but I think I would say: "I have a hatred for broccoli", but "My hatred of broccoli is entirely justified". – Reto Koradi Sep 1 '14 at 4:01
  • 1
    @Reto it might be, something like that was rather noticeable for against and more so for towards. (Also, I even got the impression that the word choice might have to do with the thing being hated. There were objects for which a particular preposition seemed to be preferred over other ones, against the overall trend. But I haven't run the numbers, so I may have imagined it.) That said, in COCA "have a hatred for" loses 1:2 to "have a hatred of", and "my hatred of" loses 5:10 to "my hatred for", suggesting you're in a minority on both accounts, though the sample size is too tiny to be sure. – RegDwigнt Sep 1 '14 at 9:12

If I hated broccoli (I don't), you could say I harbored a hatred for broccoli, or a hatred of broccoli. That is, either "for" or "of" can be used after "hatred." I cannot think of examples where "against" is used in that position.

  • Perhaps not so much in OP's example, but hatred and against do come together quite often. Take a look at this Washington Post article: Italy expels imam for preaching hatred against Jews. – Manish Giri Aug 31 '14 at 23:33
  • Good example. I wonder, though, is "hatred against Jews" something the imam preached, or was "preaching hatred" an action the imam took against Jews? I think maybe the latter. Is there an example where "against" is definitely not the start of a phrase modifying a verb? – David K Sep 1 '14 at 0:14

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