Shakespearean Insults for Every Situation

Shakespearean Insults for Every Situation


Shakespearean Insults for Every Situation

The History of Shakespearean Insults

Followers of William Shakespeare know that April 23rd is an important day used to celebrate the literary achievements and impact of the beloved playwright, poet, and actor. Over the course of two decades, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays that are praised for their ability to showcase the full range of the human experience. The histories, comedies, and tragedies he wrote have been performed around the world and are as relevant today as they were in the Elizabethan era. His work continues to fascinate the public, and in 2016 his first four folios were auctioned off for roughly $3.5 million.
While Shakespeare is best known for his literary legacy, he was not officially recognized for his artistic contributions until the 19th century. During this time, a newfound appreciation for his work was seen in both scholarship and theater. His plays were originally written to be performed on stage, which affected his literary choices and writing style. Today, his works are studied and reinterpreted in classrooms through dramatic performances and in modern day adaptations like West Side Story and Ten Things I Hate About You.
In addition to appreciating his literary contributions, Shakespeare enthusiasts understand and enjoy the snarky humor that is embedded in his work. His writing shows the power of language for its ability to make a statement and pack a punch. To celebrate the 402nd anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death, we've compiled the best insults from some of his most famous works into a Shakespearean insult generator.

Shakespearean Insults
Away, you three-inch fool! — The Taming of the Shrew
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

Sblood, you starveling, you elfskin, you dried neat’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle, you stockfish!
Publish Date: 1595
The Comedy of Errors

No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip. She is spherical, like a globe. I could find out countries in her.
Publish Date: 1597
Richard III

Poisonous bunch-backed toad!
Publish Date: 1623
As You Like It

Thou art like a toad; ugly and venomous.
Publish Date: 1623
Cymbeline

Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

Thou art a natural coward without instinct.
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

Peace, ye fat-guts!
Publish Date: 1623
King John

Sell your face for five pence and ’tis dear.
Thou art unfit for any place but hell. — Richard III
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

If the cook help to make the gluttony, you help to make the diseases.
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

You scullion. You rampallian. You fustilarian. I’ll tickle your catastrophe.
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal!
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

Hang yourself, you muddy conger, hang yourself!
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

I scorn you, scurvy companion.
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

What, you poor, base, rascally, cheating lack-linen mate! Away, you mouldy rogue, away!
Publish Date: 1623
Measure for Measure

O you beast! O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!
Publish Date: 1597
Richard III

Thou elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog!
I am sick when I do look on thee. — A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Publish Date: 1623
Measure for Measure

Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.
Publish Date: 1608
King Lear

Thou art the son and heir of a mongrel bitch.
Publish Date: 1623
Cymbeline

Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.
Publish Date: 1597
Richard III

Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.
A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality. — All’s Well That Ends Well
Publish Date: 1623
All’s Well That Ends Well

By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I’d beat thee.
Publish Date: 1623
Macbeth

You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.
Publish Date: 1709
Henry IV

Why, thou clay brained guts, thou knotty pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow catch!
Though Shakespeare is arguably one of the most famous writers of all time, he still remains a largely mysterious figure. By analyzing Shakespearean insults, we are able to learn a little more about the genius of the playwright and his impact on literature. His ability to craft tongue-in-cheek quips full of double meaning and literary merit is one of many reasons his works have such staying power.
The next time you’re looking for a witty put-down, consider using a Shakespearean insult to get your message across. His plays offer a wide array of inspiration, or you can create your own insult by using a combination of words frequently used in his works.
If you’re interested in building your own Shakespearean insult, check out the infographic below for inspiration: