Difference between Cation and Anion

Cation vs. Anion

What is Difference between Cation and Anion? If you have attended some kind of Biology, you have already heard about atoms, elements and compounds; however, it is likely that some details related to these issues have not been addressed in depth and complete, which is why even though you may know what atoms are, you do not understand the difference between anion and cation.

Difference between Cation and Anion

If you want to know what difference between Cation and Anion is, then continue reading, below this post is all about the difference between Cation and Anion.


A cation is an atom or a molecule whose electric charge is positive, that is, its number of protons exceeds that of electrons in the nucleus. The word “cation” derives from the Greek “kata”, which means “down”. Cations are found in metallic elements, such as iron (Fe).

When a cation such as sodium is presented (Na +) the accompanying “+” indicates that it has one electron less than the total number of protons. In case the + sign followed by a number (for example, 4), then it would be indicating that there are four electrons less than the total number of protons.


On the other hand, an anion is an ion with a negative electric charge that is attracted to an anode (positive electrode) in the electrolysis. In this case, unlike what happens with a cation, the anion is characterized by having a greater number of electrons than protons. The word “anion” comes from the Greek word “ano”, which means “up”. The elements in which the anions are present are non-metals. Some examples of anions are: sulfide (S2-), chloride (Cl-), among others.

Finally, as a result of having charged positive and negative electrons, the anions and cations often form bonds known as “ionic bonds “. These are formed thanks to the mutual attraction of opposing charges.

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