There’s something deliciously satisfying in a well timed, properly placed insult or barb. Especially if it can be delivered like a stealth missile so its only after the event that the insultee, upon reflection, realises they were the subject of some impudent impertinence.

In this article we look at a rag tag collection of insulting words and phrases we think should be brought back along with a miscellany of insulting zingers and factlets – for which, of course, we make no apology for ‘insulting your intelligence’ ! 😀

Insults To Bring Back

An adulterer. Another of Shakespeare’s inventions that became popular in Victorian slang.

To bespawl means to spit or dribble. A bespawler is a slobbering person, who spits when he talks.

Also called a cumberground—someone who is so useless, they just serve to take up space.

An old English dialect word for someone who drawls or speaks indistinctly.

An untidy woman.

An insignificant or foolish man.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this term for “a woman of gross or corpulent habit” is derived from fusty, in the sense of something that’s gone off or gone stale.


Someone who only seems able to speak by shouting.

This is a 17th century term for a slacker. An idling, lazy good-for-nothing. Literally, someone who seems to spend all day in bed.

In the 16th century, lubberwort was the name of an imaginary plant that was supposed to cause sluggishness or stupidity, and ultimately came to be used as a nickname for a lethargic, fuzzy-minded person.

Derived from the name of a stock character in medieval theatrical farces, a mumblecrust is a toothless beggar.

In Victorian English, doing quisby meant shirking from work or lazing around. A quisby was someone who did just that.

A disorganized or grubby person.

Probably derived from scopperloit, an old English dialect word for a vacation or a break from work, a scobberlotcher is someone who never works hard.

Someone who constantly interrupts a conversation, typically only to contradict or correct someone else.

Zinger One Liners …

The last thing I want to do is insult you, but it is on the list.

You bring everyone a lot of joy, whenever you leave the room.

I’m jealous of all the people that haven’t met you!

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
-Winston Churchill

What I’d like to know is where you put your head when you listened to your gut reaction?

No I’m not insulting you, I’m describing you.

Some Insulting Factlets …

The terms ‘Tory’, ‘Labour ’ and ‘Prime Minister ’ all began as insults.
The word ‘suffragette’ started out as an insult coined by the Daily Mail.
When kidnapped, Julius Caesar thought the ransom demanded for his release was insultingly low and insisted that it should be doubled.
FAST FOOD : When McDonald’s stores began opening in Germany, the original home of the Hamburg steak, the older generations protested. Eating with one’s hands was considered rude, and conservative Germans were concerned that “fast food” would break up family mealtimes.
In many parts of southern Italy and Greece,the thumbs-up gesture is a sexual insult rather than a sign of approval.
‘You have a turd in your teeth’ was a common insult in 17th-century England.
‘Gooseberry bush’ was 19th century slang for public hair – so the old saying: ‘born under a gooseberry bush’ was anatomically correct.