My 10 Favorite Shakespearean Insults


I have posted many artful insults from Shakespeare on this site (here and here, for example), so readers of this blog will know the Shakespearean insult is an art form I appreciate. So I thought I’d take a few moments to list my favorites in the genre, in no particular order:

  1. “I do desire we may be better strangers” (As You Like It Act 3, Scene 2).
  2. “You starvelling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish!” (1 Henry IV Act 2, Scene 4).
  3. “You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!” (2 Henry IV Act 2, Scene 1).
  4. “His wit’s as thick as a Tewkesbury mustard” (2 Henry IV Act 2, Scene 4).
  5. “Thine face is not worth sunburning” (Henry V Act 5, Scene 2).
  6. “Thou whoreson zed , thou unnecessary letter!” (King Lear Act 2, Scene 2).
  7. “Thou lump of foul deformity” (Richard III Act 1, Scene 2).
  8. “More of your conversation would infect my brain” (The Comedy of Errors Act 2, Scene 1).
  9. “You peasant swain! You whoreson malt-horse drudge!” (The Taming of the Shrew Act 4, Scene 1).
  10. “Thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows“ (Troilus and Cressida Act 2, Scene 1).

What do you think? Do you have any favorites not listed here (there are so many to choose from, after all)?

About writerhoss

I am a writer from southwestern Ohio, and a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats. My books include The Bard and the Bible (A Shakespeare Devotional).
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