search instagram arrow-down

THE DUNCULLEN SAGA

Follow me on Twitter

The Alliance of Independent Authors - Author Member
I'm an Ethical Author
Follow M.B. Gibson Books on WordPress.com

Recent Posts

Previous Posts

Topics

Aroon Barnwell SC book review Civil Rights Movement diaries genealogy indentured servants internet resources interviews Ireland Irish lore John B. Pryor John Tuohy Lincoln music newspapers Nicholas Sheehy Pat Conroy placage Pryor Knowledge Reading Challenge review South Carolina South Carolina lowcountry The Least of These travels Uncategorized Whiteboys William Johnson Word Histories Writing

Goodreads

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,184 other followers

Who You Calling a Paunchy Toad-Spotted Harpy?

In my book, Aroon, there’s a heck of a lot of animosity between the characters as there is in any self-respecting plot. Hence, I need tons of insults and they had to be current in 1750. You’d be surprised which of our libelous vocabulary is relatively recent.
A mild word like “jerk” has only been around since 1935. “Jackass,” meaning stupid person, only came to prominence in 1823. Can’t use it.  “Bastard” has been in use since the thirteenth century, but I need some variety in my abusive language.
 
Imagine my glee when I googled “Medieval insults” and found the Shakespeare Insult Kit at http://www.pangloss.com/seidel/shake_rule.html. Check it out. They give three columns with words in each taken from the Bard’s various plays. Start with the word “thou,” then choose one phrase from each column. It’s fun. Here are two I’ve put together:
 
Thou frothy flap-mouthed foot-licker. (I love alliteration.) OR
Thou yeasty onion-eyed pignut.  (Now I didn’t actually know what a pignut was, so I looked it up. It’s the tuber of some European plant. Which isn’t bad either: You yeasty onion-eyed tuber!)
If this isn’t fun enough—and it is—try the Shakespeare Insulter at http://www.pangloss.com/seidel/Shaker/index.html. Here you hit a button that says “Insult me again” and a bonafide slight straight from one of Shakespeare’s plays comes up. And let me tell you, he was the master of mockery. Here are a couple I got:
 
“Thou loathed issue of thy father’s loins!” compliments of Richard III
“We leak in your chimney.” from Henry IV, part I (Now I’m not positive what that means, but it certainly sounds gross and demeaning.)
“Thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up, And howl’st to find it.”Henry IV, part II (Ewww)

And you thought Shakespeare was too highfalutin for you. His plays have been around for four hundred years for a reason. Needless to say, our modern-day mud-slinging now seems mundane and repetitive. Where’s our flair? Where’s our creativity?

As in all areas of life, when in doubt, turn to the master.
This entry was posted in Aroon.
Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: