The 46 finest insults William Shakespeare gave the English language

Louis Dor
Thursday 21 April 2016 11:30
Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The English language owes a great debt to William Shakespeare - inventor of over 1700 of our common words.

Among his other achievements and towering presence in the literary canon, it may be most fitting to remember him for his insults, as we approach the 400th anniversary of the day of his death.

So, with the internet at our fingertips, we did some scouring and came up with a not-too-brief list.

We hope you enjoy, in our opinion, the bard's best beat-downs.

Let us know your favourite in the comments below:

1) All’s Well That Ends Well

A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.

2) Henry IV Part II

You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!

3) All’s Well That Ends Well

Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.

4) Henry IV Part I

You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!

5) Hamlet

Thou are pigeon-liver’d and lack gall.

6) As You Like It

Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.

7) Macbeth

Thou cream faced loon.

8) The Taming Of The Shrew

Come, come, you froward and unable worms!.

9) Cymbeline

Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.

10) As You Like It

Thou art like a toad; ugly and venomous.

11) Henry IV Part I

Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!.

13) Henry V

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.

14) All’s Well That Ends Well

Your virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.

15) Measure For Measure

Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.

16) Hamlet

If thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them.

17) Henry IV Part I

That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?

18) Henry IV Part I

Peace, ye fat guts!

19) Henry IV Part I

You are as a candle, the better burnt out.

20) Henry V

Thine face is not worth sunburning.

Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

21) Richard III

Thou poisonous bunch-back’d toad!

22) Troilus and Cressida

Thou art as loathsome as a toad.

23) Richard III

Thou art unfit for any place but hell.

24) Measure For Measure

Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.

25) Measure For Measure

Thou subtle, perjur’d, false, disloyal man!

26) Henry IV Part I

A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are toss’d with

27) Titus Andronicus

Foul spoken coward, that thund'rest with thy tongue, and with thy weapon nothing dares perform.

28) King Lear

Thou art the son and heir of a mongrel bitch.

29) Richard III

Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.

Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

30) As You Like It

I do desire that we may be better strangers.

31) King Lear

Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.

32) Much Ado About Nothing

You have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.

33) 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.

34) Coriolanus

More of your conversation would infect my brain.

35) A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee.

36) Macbeth

You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so.

37) Othello

Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell.

38) The Two Gentlemen of Verona

You, minion, are too saucy.

39) Coriolanus

Your abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone.

40) The Taming of the Shrew

Away, you three inch fool.

41) Hamlet

They have a plentiful lack of wit

42) King John

O you beast! I'll so maul you and your toasting-iron, That you shall think the devil is come from hell.

43) All’s Well That Ends Well

You are not worth another word, else I'd call you knave.

44) Timon of Athens

I do wish thou were a dog, that I might love thee something

45) Timon of Athens

I'll beat thee, but I should infect my hands.

46) King Lear

Thou art a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mungril bitch.

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