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30 best Shakespearean insults

We don’t readily jump on the ‘Modern life is rubbish bandwagon’, not least because our knees aren’t what they used to be. However, when it comes to settling disagreements contemporary society has a lot to answer for. Everyone is so eager to indulge in a spot of physical fisticuffs to iron out issues.

Call us old-fashioned (or slightly effeminate girly boys) but we’d rather settle any contretemps with some rather florid verbal jousting. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced world amassing the expansive vocabulary required to lance an opponents rowdy rhetoric has become – much like letter writing and chivalry – something of a lost art.

So, we’ve hit upon an alternative. In times when a pithy and colourful insult is required, reach for your Shakespeare. What follows are 30 of the bard’s best putdowns.

You are most certainly welcome…

(Image: Shutterstock, Rex Features)

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults

    As You Like It

    "Thou art like a toad; ugly and venemous."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 1

    Measure For Measure

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 2

    Henry IV Part I

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 3

    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."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 4

    Henry IV Part II

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 5

    King Lear

    "Thou art the son and heir of a mongrel bitch."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 6

    Cymbeline

    "Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 7

    Troilus And Cressida

    "Thou art as loathsome as a toad."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 8

    Macbeth

    "Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, Thou lily-liver’d boy."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 9

    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!"

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 10

    Richard III

    "Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 11

    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."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 12

    As You Like It

    "I do desire that we may be better strangers."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 13

    Henry IV Part I

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 14

    King Lear

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 15

    Much Ado About Nothing

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 16

    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."

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  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 17

    Coriolanus

    "More of your conversation would infect my brain."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 18

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 19

    All’s Well That Ends Well

    "By mine honour, if I were but two hours younger, I’d beat thee. Methink’st thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 20

    Macbeth

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 21

    All’s Well That Ends Well

    "Your virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 22

    Othello

    "Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 23

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona

    "You, minion, are too saucy."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 24

    Coriolanus

    "You abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 25

    Henry IV Part I

    "Thou art as fat as butter."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 26

    The Taming of the Shrew

    "Away, you three inch fool."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 27

    Hamlet

    "They have a plentiful lack of wit."

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 28

    King John

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

  • 30 best Shakespearean insults 29

    All’s Well That Ends Well

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