The words rich and wealthy are actually synonyms. Both are often used when you are describing a person or place that has a lot of money and possessions. However, in some cases, only rich is possible.
- She is a very rich/wealthy woman.
- He was fabulously rich/wealthy.
- This is a rich/wealthy area.
We always use rich in some fixed expressions such as stinking rich and filthy rich.
These words can function as nouns and mean all rich people. In this case, we use the definite article.
See also: Adjectival nouns
- The new tax laws will clearly benefit the rich/the wealthy.
Cases where wealthy is not possible
We use rich to refer to something that is full of interesting facts or events.
- The region has a rich tradition of folk music.
- I’m reading a book about our city’s rich history.
We use rich to refer to something that contains a large amount of useful and valuable substance.
- This cereal is rich in vitamins and minerals.
- The area has rich deposits of gold and copper.
Rich is used to refer to food that contains a large amount of fat, butter, egg, etc.
- The fruit cake was very rich.
- She loves rich chocolate desserts.
Rich land or soil contains large amounts of substances that are good for growing plants.
- The land around here is rich and green.
- They grow the vegetables in the rich soil.