Siobhan Thompson in 'If Shakespearean Insults Were Used Today...' (Photo: YouTube)
Siobhan Thompson in 'If Shakespearean Insults Were Used Today...' (Photo: YouTube)
Siobhan Thompson in ‘If Shakespearean Insults Were Used Today…’ (Photo: YouTube)

We taught you how to insult like the British but now we’re invading new territory: how to insult like the Elizabethan British! And who does that better than famed Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare? Siobhan Thompson teaches us some of Shakespeare’s best put-downs in this episode of the Anglophenia YouTube series:

Check out our list of sources and perhaps gather your favorite Shakespearean insults from the Web’s Complete Works of William Shakespeare:

“I bite my thumb, sir.” – Sampson in Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, Scene 1)

“Bolting-hutch of beastliness!” – Prince Henry in Henry IV, Part I (Act 2, Scene 4)

“Starvling, elfskin, dried neat’s tongue, bull’s pizzle, stockfish” – Falstaff in Henry IV, Part I (Act 2, Scene 4)

“Fat guts” – Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part I (Act 2, Scene 1)

“Swaggering rascal” – Doll Tearsheet in Henry IV, Part II (Act 2, Scene 4)

“Filthy bung” – Doll Tearsheet in Henry IV, Part II (Act 2, Scene 4)

“Rampallion” – Falstaff in Henry IV, Part II (Act 2, Scene 1)

“And thou unfit for any place but Hell” – Lady Anne in Richard III (Act 1, Scene 2)

“…as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage” – Jacques in As You Like It (Act 2, Scene 7)

“…as loathsome as a toad” – Nurse in Titus Andronicus (Act 4, Scene 2)

“Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese” – Parolles in All’s Well That Ends Well (Act 1, Scene 1)

“Dissembling harlot” – Antipholus of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors (Act 4, Scene 4)

“Fishmonger” – Hamlet in Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2)

“Scullion” – Hamlet in Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2)

“I wonder that you will still be talking. Nobody marks you.” – Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Act 1, Scene 1)

“A fusty nut with no kernel.” – Thersites in Troilus and Cressida (Act 2, Scene 1)

 

What’s your favorite Shakespearean insult?

See more:
Interview with Anglophenia’s Siobhan Thompson
WATCH: How to Sling Insults Like the British
The Brit List: 10 Stinging British Insults
45 Everyday Phrases Coined By Shakespeare
Five Great British Interpretations Of Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’
Five Shakespeare Adaptations You Can View Online

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By Helen Donahue