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
. 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
. 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.