10 Insulting Words You Should Know

There is a crisis of insults on the Web. On one hand, the volume of flames is very high yet the quality is poor. Gone are the days of the razor-sharp wit of Oscar Wilde and Winston Churchill*, only to be replaced by a string of four letter words typed in ALL CAPS by n00bs (the latest of which is “FAIL”, itself a failure of coming up with a more scathing insult, if you think about it).

*For example:

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go," says Oscar Wilde.

George Bernard Shaw wrote to Winston Churchill, "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend....if you have one." And Churchill wrote back, "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second......if there is one"

Well, it’s hard to teach wit - but all of us can learn the next best thing: the approximation of it by obfuscation, i.e. using big, difficult, and obscure words. So, to do our part in improving the quality of insults on teh Interweb, Neatorama has come up with a list of 10 Insulting Words You Should Know:


Definition: 1) To make French in quality or trait 2) To make somewhat effeminate, and 3) To contract a veneral disease (a 19th century slang).

Analysis: We have the English to thank for this word. Most people implicitly understand that it means to become more like the French, but not a lot know the second or the third meaning. We’re still not sure which is more insulting.


Definition: To spray with poo.

Analysis: Actually bescumber is just one of many words in the English language that basically mean “to spray with poo”. These are: BEDUNG, BERAY, IMMERD, SHARNY, and the good ol’ SHITTEN. In special cases, you can use BEMUTE (specifically means to drop poo on someone from great height), SHARD-BORN (born in dung), and FIMICOLOUS (living and growing on crap).

Alternative: If that is too vulgar, you can use BEVOMIT and BEPISS, which meanings should be obvious to you, as well as BESPAWL (to spit on).

Oh, and if you want to say poo without looking like you're saying it, you can use ORDURE, DEJECTION, and EXCRETA. To mean something more specific, you can use MECONIUM (first feces of a newborn child), MELAENA or MELENA (the abnormally tarry feces containing blood from gastrointestinal bleeding), LIENTERY (diarrhea with undigested or partially digested food), and STEATORRHEA (fatty stool that's hard to flush down).

Here are some words along the same line that may one day prove to be useful for you: TURDIFY (turn into turd), COPROPHAGIA (eating of feces [wiki]), and COPROPHILIA (Think 2 Girls 1 Cup [wiki - don't worry, SWF], if you don't know what this is, I shan't corrupt you any further).

Let's end entry number two with these two amazing words COPREMESIS and MISERERE, both of which mean fecal vomiting. Yes, fecal vomiting. It's a medical emergency caused by the obstruction of the bowel (source).


Definition: An unusually small penis.

Analysis: Self explanatory.

Alternative: Insulting a man’s private part is a very reliable way to put him down (if he’s smaller than you) or to get beat up (if he’s larger than you). Usually, even a dimwit can decipher the meaning of this word, after all, it’s just a combination of “micro” and “phallus”.

So, to insult a physically larger opponent, we recommend you use these words instead: PHALLOCRYPSIS (retraction or shrinkage of the penis), CRYPTORCHID (undescendend testicles), and PHALLONCUS (tumor of the penis).


Definition: Pain in the butt.

Analysis: It's a real medical term: coccydynia is pain in the coccyx or tailbone. Most people simply call it "buttache."

Similar: PROCTALGIA, PROCTODYNIA, PYGALGIA and RECTALGIA all mean pain in the butt.

Alternative: CERVICALGIA (pain in the neck), PHALLODYNIA or PHALLALGIA (both mean pain in the penis), and PUDENDAGRA (pain in the genitals).

The word "butt" is highly versatile in its vernacular use - you can say "butt face" or "hairy butt" - dem are fightin' words - but it's much better to use these instead: ANKYLOPROCTIA (stricture of the anus, the state of "tight-assity"), STEATOPYGOUS (fat-assed), DASYPYGAL (having hairy buttocks), and CACOPYGIAN (having ugly buttocks).



Definition: A fool or a silly person.
Analysis: The word "fool," unless you're Mr. T, is sometimes woefully inadequate to express the stupidity of the person you're talking about. So use Ninnyhammer. Or at least NINNY.

Alternative: The English language is chockful of colorful words meaning stupid person, such as: DUMMKOPF, IGNORAMUS, JOBBERNOWL, GOWK, and WITLING.

For mental retardation, eschew the ubiquitous 'tard - rather, use AMENTIA (extreme mental retardation because of inadequate brain tissue), CRETINISM (mental retardation associated with dwarfism, caused by the deficiency of a thyroid hormone, a person with cretinism is a CRETIN), and MORONITY (used to mean mild retardation of having a mental age of 7 to 12 years, now it's an obsolete term though we still use the word moron).


Definition: A ludicrously false statement. Basically it means bullshit or nonsense.

Analysis: Actually, you probably already know this word by its more common spelling: bunkum.

The origin of this word is fascinating. In 1819, a North Carolina congressman, the Honorable Felix Walker, was giving a rambling speech with little relevance to the current debate. He refused to yield the floor, and claimed that he wasn't speaking for Congress but instead "for Buncombe" (a county in North Carolina he represented). That's all it took.

Over time, the spelling changed to "bunkum," and the meaning strangely changed to be "excellent." Then it changed back in 1870, when a San Francisco gambler introduced a new game "banco" played with dice that were later found out to be loaded. Sure enough, BUNCO became known to mean swindle or cheat, and bunkum reverted back to its original meaning. (Source)

The word DEBUNK came directly from this: it's just bunk(um) with the prefix de- (meaning to remove).


Definition: Offensive armpit odor.

Analysis: Hircismus comes from the root word "hircus" which means goat in Latin. Someone must have thought smelly pits smelled like goats. Actually, this word combines two sources of great insult potential: smelly and armpits. Why this is not used more often in the discourse of hateful communication is beyond me.

Alternative: As we've mentioned, armpit is an untapped goldmine for insults. Here are some examples of words you can use: MASCHALEPHIDROSIS or MASCHALYPERIDROSIS (excessive sweating of the armpits). MASCHALOPHILOUS (sexual attraction to the underarms) and AXILLISM (the use of armpit for sex).

Smelling like goats is also a good source of insults (especially since goat is also a slang for a lecherous man). Try CAPRYLIC and HIRCINE (smelling like a pungent goat), and CAPRIC (resembling a goat).

8. CORPULENT (adj)

Definition: Very fat.

Analysis: Good ol' fat is a reliable insult word. After all, nowadays, no one like a fatty ... except Mauritanian men. That's right: in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, fat and Rubenesque women are sexy and desirable. So much so, that instead of the crash diet of the West, they have a similar but opposite program: crash feeding or "gavage," where girls as young as 5 years old are force-fed milk, cream, butter, couscous and other calorie-rich food:

Girls as young as 5 and as old as 19 had to drink up to five gallons of fat-rich camel’s or cow’s milk daily, aiming for silvery stretch marks on their upper arms. If a girl refused or vomited, the village weight-gain specialist might squeeze her foot between sticks, pull her ear, pinch her inner thigh, bend her finger backward or force her to drink her own vomit. In extreme cases, girls died. (Source)

Interestingly, the ideal man is skinny (Mauritanians view portly men as womanish and lazy).

Alternative: ABDOMINOUS (potbellied), STEATOPYGOUS (fat-assed), and FUSSOCK (a very fat woman).

9. FEIST or FICE (n)

Definition: 1) A small dog of uncertain ancestry, a mongrel. 2) A person of little worth or someone with a bad temper, and 3) Silent fart.

Analysis: You actually already know this word: feist is used throughout the Midland and Southern United States to mean a snappy, nervous and belligerent little dog. The adjective feisty which means "full of spirit or spunky," comes from this word. But that's not why it's on this list (hint: #3!)

What you may not know is the true origin of the word. Feist comes from the Middle English fisten, which means to break wind (fist originally also meant flatus or fart). Feist is a special type of fart: the silent (and often deadly) type. Oh, and the word "fart" itself comes from another Middle English word farten or ferten, which in turn is from the Old English feortan.

Feist is the type of word that, if introduced to young adolescents, no doubt would spark a lifelong interest in learning new words.

Alternative: Fart is another one of those goldmines of insults. To obfuscate what you really mean, use instead: FLATUOSITY (fart). Other gems: EPROCTOLAGNIAC (someone aroused by flatulence, his own or someone else's), CARMINATIVE (something that makes you fart), and BDOLOTIC (prone to farting).


Definition: A swaggering braggart or boaster.

Analysis: Cacafuego literally means "shit fire" in Spanish. Anyone who boasts their new knowledge of insulting words from this article can be called a cacafuego.

That's not the only interesting thing about it:

Cacafuego is also the nickname of a 16th century Spanish galleon captured by Sir Francis Drake (El Draque or The Dragon as he was known to his Spanish victims). The ship's original name was Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Our Lady of Conception), but for some reason it's called by her sailors as "cagafuego" (fireshitter) or "cacafuego" (shitfire).

It was Drake's biggest plunder: it took his crew four days to transfer the cargo from the Cacafuego. In all, Drake got 80 pounds of gold, 26 tons of silver, 13 cases of silver coins, jewels, and more.

Synonym: BLATHERSKITE, BRAGGADOCIO, FANFARON, GASCONADER, and RODOMONTADE (English is full of this kind of word, though I think caca "shit fire" fuego is in a class of its own!)


- Depraved and Insulting English, a marvelous book by Peter Novobatzky and Ammon Shea. Highly, highly recommended.
- The Free Dictionary by Farlex
- Free Thesaurus by DonationCoder (based on Grady Ward's Moby Thesaurus)
- Miriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary (it's behind a paywall)

I sense that I am going to see a lot of weird words in forums from now on. Anyway, I know where to check the meanings and use a lot of different insult back at them! Good post.
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You're going out on a bit of a limb with miserere; it appears to have been in full 'miserere mei' (loosely, 'pity me') that referred to ileus, and the OED marks the sense obs. (with a religious sense still current). Saying 'have pity' in Latin isn't very promising as an insult.
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I love the new artwork on some of the posts. Who is the artist. Give them two high fives from me.

The blog just keeps getting better and better and in My Humble Opinion it's the best blog around. Great work guys.

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Edu- Cagafuego = fireshitter.
Cacafuego = shitfire.

I personally loved this sentence: "The English language is chockful of colorful words meaning stupid person, such as: DUMMKOPF"

In all, a fantastic article. Thanks, Neatorama!
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I'm sure that Canadian musician named Feist would appreciate this. Also, I have a massive book simply titled The Big Book of Insults, that is nothing but turn of the century American put-downs. They're not very funny out of context. I will be using many, many of these though.
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Scatophagus - scato- (poop), -phagus (eat-er, or -ing)
You, sir, are a scatophagus.
Why you lookin' at me with that scatophagus grin on yer face?
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'Dummkopf' is actually German, not English, literally 'Dumb head'. I didn't bother reading through the comments to see if anyone already pointed this out.
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"Well, it’s hard to teach wit - but all of us can learn the next best thing: the approximation of it by obfuscation, i.e. using big, difficult, and obscure words."

Maybe encourage people to read books to improve their vocabulary rather than add to the legion of dorks using words they've memorised but don't properly understand? Just a thought.
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as a french i love the frenchify insult (to contract a venerial disease!!) but i have to warn you: corpulent is a french word, you are going to frenchify yourself if you say it.
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@Johannes Vindenburg: "You can’t be insulted by a word you don’t understand."

Oh, no sir, I believe you're mistaken. That's the beauty of using these types of words to insult: the persons you just insulted may not know the exact meaning of the word, but they have a feeling that they've just been insulted.

Most of them don't ask what the word means, because nobody likes feeling like a witling. ;)
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You missed out on the best insult I've ever dished out.

Necropedaphilliac - someone who has sex with dead children.

Thats the sickest thing I've ever heard but also the best insult I've ever heard. I made it up about 19 years ago.
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Hey Rik, add a 'narco' on the front of that. Then you randomly fall asleep while doing the ugly deed... Then maybe 'bestial' so its sex with dead young animals... We could go on and on... Narconecrobestialpedaphilliac.
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Way to repost the highlights from "Depraved and Insulting English" guys. I bought this book eight years ago and apparently don't have anything new to learn. I applaud your efforts to increase the vernacular of everyday Joes, but would've thought that I could have found something new.
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also...@ nel: corpulent is latin in origination, not french--Online Etymology Dictionary


from L. corpulentus "fleshy, fat," from corpus "body" (see corporeal) + -ulentus "full of."

please eat shit
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Best word I learned in 2 years of Latin. The professor kind of danced around it.

"It means, basically, that your wife makes all your decisions for you. But that doesn't convey how insulting the word is in Latin. It's really offensive. English doesn't have an equivalent."

I raised my hand. "You mean 'pussy whipped'. Yes, I'm pretty sure every language has a word for that."
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We forget meritricous, meaning, hooker like. It sounds like it should mean that it brings merit to, but the root of the word is Latin, meritrix (spelling may be a tad out), which, logically, means prostitute.
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"We’re still not sure which is more insulting": thanks for the refreshing piece of mindless bigotry. It's mind blowing how hatred towards the French has become mainstream in US pop culture in just a few years (not that it was unheard of before, but no one would have said something like "French is bad hehehehe" without trying to explain at least a little). I'd be curious to know whether you actually met one French person once in your life and whether you can actually justify this level of unargumented scorn.

Now sorry,got to go, I'm awaited for my monthly bath. With my white flag.

I'm so tired of all this shit.
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How could you omit "feculent" from this list?

One of the most useful words in the English language and appropriate for describing most politicians.
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Perhaps the term "twerp" is useful.

A "twerp" is a person who inserts false teeth between the cheeks of their arse and bites the buttons off the upholstery of the back seats of taxi cabs.

When you realise how few taxi cabs have button upholstery, you can appreciate how many twerps there are out there. :-)
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"Rodomontade" is a noun, meaning a story of such extreme boastfulness that it is highly unlikely to be true. It comes from Rodomonte, king of the Moors, from the Orlando Furioso, who at one point singlehandedly swims a river, knocks down huge wooden church doors with his bare hands, and singlehandedly slaughters hundreds of Christian knights in a terrible rage before making his escape.
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There is a lot to be said from the judicious use of pointed, and sometimes cryptic insults, which the English language happily accommodates for — you worthless shower of puerile, feculent blatherskites. I bid you good day!
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Frenchify made me think of some great Russian slang for syphillis: parizhskii nasmark, or Parisian headcold.

When I was studying Russian a fellow student came running up to me before class. The epitome of a slacker, never prepared, he was looking for an excuse for not having his oral presentation ready. He asked me if I knew the word for cold. I told him it was parizhskii nasmark. He went in to the prof and told him that's what he had. The teacher laughed for a good ten minutes before telling the guy that if he had the clap, he ought to head over to the student clinic.
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I had tears streaming before I finished the second paragraph! This is awesome! Even better than the Shakespearean Insult Kit (email list - went around last year). Much fun!
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The meanings are HILARIOUS: otherwise known as HYSTERICAL, LAUGHABLE, ENJOYABLE. I used Cacafuego and corpulent in a story I'm working on. Thank you so much, I needed a good insult.
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Yeah but if someone says "sorry I don't speak smarta**" simply say some thing along the lines of "oh sorry that's right you're just a dumba**"
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I've got a good insulting word substitute: "Gahenna" in place of hell or hades. Gahenna is from a Hebrew name for a junk pile-garbage and trash dump in ancient Israel just outside Jerusalem. Used by the ancient prophets as a visual description for bad people after their death-a place of great punishment and torment. Most people don't know this. Just say, "Go to Gahenna", and you will have other wondering what you are saying.
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For those of you who think it's no point in calling them these names if they don't get it, the idea is to do it in front of a whole group of people. They will know his vocab sucks and laugh out loud. And if any of them know what you're talking about, then the guy you're insulting is in deep shit :D
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um if i said any of this when i was trying to fry somebody i would get laughed at right in my face. think i'll just stick to the boring ones i know
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