Witty and imaginative insults or curses


Have you come across any witty and/or imaginative insults or curses in any language? Maybe some that are no longer in use or don’t really make sense when taken out of the cultural context? For example:

Chawbacon, churl, clodhopper - English for an uncultured or rude country rustic

“You chawbacon! Your pranks are unimpressive!”


Dutch uses a lot of insults based around diseases. Kanker (cancer), Pleuris (tuberculosis), and Tyfus (typhoid), are used in various combinations such as “Krijg de Kanker” - “Get the cancer”


One of my reasons for doing a dissertation on John Wilkes, 18th century English politician and all-around rake was his wit, and one of my favorite specimens of that was his reply to the Earl of Sandwich in Parliament, November 1763:
Sandwich: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of the pox !”
Wilkes: “That, my Lord, depends on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”

(Pox meant the great pox, syphilis; in the U.S., Wilkes has several places named after him, including Wilkesboro, NC and Wilkes-Barre, PA–he was popular here.)




I’ve read about Wilkes before - always love great wits! You must have enjoyed doing your dissertation.


I’m about to spend hours on this Shakespeare insult generator, hahaha!


And a once famous then infamous actor/assassin was also named for him.

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I’ve heard and learned plenty of these during travelling and living in other countries , but I feel almost too embarrassed to write them out and/ or give the translations , some of them are just too extreme :crazy_face:


I just said “Thou burly-boned pox-marked pignut!” to my boyfriend who failed to mix me a drink when he mixed his! Hahahahaha I did get my drink! Cheers!


Well, 840 pages is a bit of a slog, but yes, I did enjoy it. It includes Wilkes’ pornography, for which he was brought up on charges by a government out to get him: they bribed the printer for a copy and looked properly horrified when it was read out in Parliament.


“Great Wrinkled Things!!” from that hilarious, chaotic godfather of Monty Python, the Goon Show.


This is where I go when I know I’m about to say something to some troll that will just give them fodder to continue their stupidity. It tends to shut them up because, well they’re trolls & have no idea how to respond. <:

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My Neapolitan dad used a term “morza di chooch” which literally translated to “donkey bite.” If I was misbehaving, he would grab my knee with his thumb and first finger and squeeze - hard! Wow, that hurt. He usually did it in jest but, trust me, I started to run if I heard him uttering those words. He had a lot of other curses and terms he used which were in the Neapolitan dialect, now lost to history.


I always thought it was funny when the Mexican guys I worked with called someone they thought was stupid a camote . Which is sweet potato in Spanish.


“Your mother breeds out of season.”
First heard from a Guamanian dishwasher.


Some of my faves are local ones from the North of England. I love apeth - most frequently collocated as “you daft apeth” which I guess is calling someone as stupid as an ape with an old-fashioned dialect affectation. Another one is piecan which has a similar meaning - you are as stupid and dull as a metal tin which holds pastry.

I’m also a fan of twerp, and the etymology of that - Tolkien? American dwarves? Racing pigeons? - is intriguing.

Otherwise, to travel-sourced insults, Italians are great with curses! :smile: As far as I understand, the word terrone is roughly equivalent to ‘redneck’. Used to slag off Southern Italians, it carries all those cultural connotations of someone being slobby, uncivilised, lazy and so on.

Meanwhile in Rome, mortacci tua - or 'tacci tua - is pretty much a curse on your ancestors, though it can be friendly! It depends on context and as far as I understand it’s a very Roman way of saying “your Mum”. Yeah, it’s probably safer just to call someone a piecan…


“He has a head like Rama the Third”
Meaning “he’s stupid”. Found on an English as a Foreign Language textbook for primary schools in China (2005/6) - under the heading “Common English Idioms”


Thats bizarre…I actually had to look up who Rama the Third was , apparently it was a 19th century King of Siam. I guess the editor of the textbook must have felt that primary school kids and / or English speakers must be versed in the dynastic history of Thailand :confused:


My mother used to use two of my all-time favorite ejaculations: “Ding bust the luck!” and “Our fathers of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!” (shortened to “Our fathers!” if she was really annoyed). I have no idea where she got them.


I find myself just stringing vulgarities together at random, then after my utterance retracing my steps. Frequently I find that, despite the simple crassness of what I came up with I’ve made more of a compliment than insult.