The Art of Dishing Out Insults

Why would anyone want to dish out insults? I am a firm believer in courtesy and respecting other people. As much as I can, I keep insults to the minimum. However, I have to admit that there are times when you just can’t help but think insulting things. You might even be justified on certain occasions.

If you are a writer, you’ll probably have more reason to make an insulting remark or two. I think that this is especially true if you write fiction, and your characters have a rough edge to them. So is there an art to dishing out insults? Probably.

I will not claim to be an expert in this matter, but I have found some interesting words that can be used to insult others. The fun part is that the recipient just might not get the fact that he is being looked down on. Here are some of my picks.

DISCLAIMER: In spite of the examples that I will be using below, I am not suggesting you go insulting others with this post. Let’s just look at it as an exercise in expanding your vocabulary.


The next time someone behaves like a condescending [insert insult here], be a little more creative and say “You’re superbious!” He might even think that you are giving him a compliment instead of the other way around! Of course, that all depends on how much sarcasm you put into your tone.


How many times have you called BS on a statement? While it is a commonly used term, especially in informal situations, there are many situations when you might not want to use it. How about buncombe instead? It basically means the same thing, and it does not sound as crass.


I like this word, if only for the reason that it reminds me of a rooster. It is used to refer to a person who is full of himself – a boastful, self-important person. I am sure you know a cockalorum or two!


Doesn’t this sound just as silly as the previous insult? If someone tells you you’re a mumpsimus, you better do a self-evaluation. This word refers to someone who is so stubborn that he continues making a mistake even after it has been pointed out.

Merriam-Webster has funny list of top 10 rare and amusing insults, if you want more.

Now remember what your mom always taught you about being polite!

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3 responses
  1. Izzie Avatar

    Using a pretentious word doesn’t a witty retort make; better to remain silent.

  2. Brigitte Avatar

    This is great! Thank you for this blog. :).

  3. Bonnee Avatar

    I just generally love using big smart-sounding words to insult people. And I do love being verbose about it… (this is the part where I add the words above to my vocab and start using them).

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