Do you reckon you’ve got skills when it comes to making a point without explicitly saying it?
From “he’s a little thin on top,” to allude to someone’s thinning hair, to “I’m letting you go” when you need to fire an employee, euphemisms can seem like a great way to couch harsh comments in gentler terms.
And yet, people don’t just use figurative language to deliver news with sensitivity. According to a Reddit thread, plenty of people view it as tool to poke fun at others’ intelligence.
So how do you know if people are trying to subtly (or not so subtly) insult your smarts?
Indy100 is here to help. We’ve unlocked some of those sneaky phrases so you won’t be caught off guard.
1) “The bar was the cement, and you brought a shovel”
A shovel is better to dig up dirt or sand, not cement. Unless you want to do this for the whole day, go right ahead.
2) “I expected nothing, but I’m still disappointed”
Sheesh, way to have faith in someone.
3) “They had different talents.”
In other words, “they aren’t good at that”.
4) “You’re about as sharp as a sack full of soup”
Soup is a liquid. Sacks are floppy containers generally made of porous material. Basically, there’s nothing sharp about a pool of potage seeping through a hessian bag.
5) “You’re as quick as a glacier”
Most glaciers move a few centimetres a day. Others – known as galloping glaciers – can move 160 feet a day (50 metres). They’re not exactly Formula 1 cars...
6) “He’s so far behind, he thinks first”
Like the tortioise and the hare (or the turtle and the rabbit if you prefer), slow and steady wins the race... Most of the time.
7) “Keep them guessing, don’t open your mouth and prove them right”
Basically, try to avoid speaking unless you really know what you’re talking about – it avoids embarrassment.
8) “As useful as a chocolate teapot”
Teapots are designed to hold boiling water; chocolate is designed to melt in your mouth. Go figure.
9) “You’re the reason we have warning labels”
If this includes putting food wrapped in aluminium foil in the microwave or spilling water over electrical devices, then sure, a warning label is necessary.
10) “You’re just spare parts, aren’t you, bud?”
Excuse you! Every part matters. You never know when you may need a spare.
11) “You need lemons to make lemonade, and you don’t have any lemons.”
When life gives us those lemons, we will be sure to use them, OK? Don’t judge.
12) “Aww, bless your heart”
This term is generally used in the southern US and can express affection or empathy. It can also be a passive aggressive way of telling someone “that sucks” if they did something unadviseable. Be wary of this one.
13) “Your train of thought is a replacement bus service”
No one likes it when a direct train route is replaced by a meandering bus ride. No one.
14) “If there were a harder way to do that, you would find it”
Some of us aren’t great at finding short cuts, OK? We don’t always make life easy for ourselves, but isn’t it better to be thorough sometimes?
15) “You’re 12 cans short of a six-pack”
This is the alcoholic equivalent of “you’re one sandwich short of a picinic”, but even more confusing because of the maths...
16) “Easy now, don’t let your brains go to your head”
Sarcasm and wordplay in one neat little insult. Great.
17) “They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge”
What a philosophical way to describe someone saying something stupid.
18) “You must have ironed your brain”
Neuroscientists believe that the more folds you have in your brain the smarter you are. Having a “smooth brain” is also a rare, gene-linked condition. Funny, guys.
19) “When it was raining brains, you had an umbrella”
So much for allowing the stream of knowledge to rain down on you.
20) “I would agree with you, but then we would both be wrong”
Isn’t it fun to be right all the time?
*We advise readers not to use any of these phrases to be mean to someone. Be kind. And keep your eyes and ears peeled.