15 words you probably didn't know were insults

Samuel Osborne@SamuelOsborne93
Monday 13 April 2015 17:00
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Did you know that schoolteachers were originally known as pedants? Or that a customer was a prostitute in Shakespearean English?

Here are our favourite words and names that are actually insults, highlighted by a new book From Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities.

1. "In Shakespearean English, a customer was a prostitute."

2. "In Tudor England, fishmonger's daughter was a euphemism for a prostitute."

3. "Conundrum was originally an Oxford University nickname for a pedantic person."

4. "The surname Mulligan means 'little bald man'."

5. "The surname Kennedy means 'ugly-head'."

6. "Tory derives from an Irish word for 'outlaw'."

7. "The Welsh word for 'carrots' is moron."

8. "An ale-knight is a drinking companion, or habitual drunkard."

9. "Pumpernickel means 'farting goblin'."

10. "Walrus means 'whale-horse'."

11. "In the eighteenth century, a figure dancer was a criminal or forger who specialised in altering the numbers on banknotes."

12. "A spit-poison is an very malicious or spiteful person."

13. "In Canadian slang, someone who wastes time is called an afternoon

14. "Wardrobe is another name for badger excrement."

15. "A shot-log is an unwanted friend or drinking companion, whose company is only tolerated so that they can pay for a round for the rest of the group."

Source: Word Drops: A Sprinkling of Linguistic Curiosities by Paul Anthony Jones

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