Classic Insults Throughout Time

For today, this guest post is presented to VT readers by Liquid.

These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words, not to mention waving middle fingers.

Lador Astor to Winston Churchill:
"If you were my husband I'd give you poison."

Winston Churchill to Lador Astor:
"If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A Member of Parliament (MP) to Disraeli:
"Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."

Disreaeli to the MP:
"That depends, Sir, on whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway):
"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."

Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner):
"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill:
"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend ... if you have one."

Winston Churchill to George Bernard Shaw:
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one."

"He had delusions of adequacy."
- Walter Kerr
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
- Winston Churchill
"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."
- Winston Churchill
"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
- Clarence Darrow
"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
- Moses Hadas
"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."
- Abraham Lincoln
"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
- Mark Twain
"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
- Oscar Wilde

(And this one, my personal favorite of recent use)

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here."
- Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
- John Bright
"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
- Irvin S. Cobb
"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."
- Samuel Johnson
"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
- Paul Keating
"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
- Jack E. Leonard
"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
- Robert Redford
"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge."
-Thomas Brackett Reed
"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."
- Charles, Count Talleyrand
"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
- Forrest Tucker
"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
- Mark Twain
"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
- Mae West
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
- Oscar Wilde
"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts ... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
- Billy Wilder
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."
- Groucho Marx


Hale McKay said...


I have been sitting on this as a draft since 12/14. In all the confusion of the up-coming holidays, I ... uh ... forgot it.

I put it up today, so I'll post my turn tomorrow, 1/10?


I'm sorry I didn't get this posted sooner. As promised, however, you are given credit and you are now linked on our sidebar as a honored contributor.

Serena Joy said...

No problem!

Serena Joy said...

Oh, I forgot to say what a good post it is! Senior moment, I guess.:)