I’m Insulted We Haven’t Talked about This Sooner

By: Sydney Vollmer

When the stupid *$&@___ in front of you in line can’t make up their *@($-ing mind, don’t you just want to pull out your hair and tell them what an %*$%&*! they’re being? But you can’t. Why? Because there are children around. And because we live in a “civilized” society where doing such things would get you kicked out. After all, you just want your #$*(-ing coffee! Four letter words won’t save you this time. You’ll have to get more creative.

William Shakespeare

Try throwing your drunken-sailor vocabulary out for a week. In turn, add in some good, old-fashioned, Elizabethan insults. William Shakespeare was the king of insults. The good news is that so many people complain about not understanding his works that you may be able to hit them where it hurts without them ever being the wiser! Instead of calling that imbecile a you-know-what, throw this other word that starts with “F” their way: “fustilarian.” They mean pretty much the same thing, but the mother of the child behind you won’t take her palm fast to your face for being obscene in front of her child. You won’t get kicked out. You’ll blow off some pent-up steam. You’ll eventually get your coffee. And most importantly, that fustilarian won’t get off without a word being said. That’s what I like to call a win-win-win.

Image from Merry Wives of Windsor Of course, if “fustilarian” doesn’t suit your fancy, there are plenty of other Elizabethan words at your disposal. Shakespeare took the time to perfectly craft some real skin-cutting insults that are now free for you to use. You can see 30 of them here: http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/resources/shakespeare-insults/. However, if you feel like throwing your own together, take a look at this nifty list: http://www.pangloss.com/seidel/shake_rule.html. Take a word of your choosing from each column, and ta-da! You have your insult. There is no cure for stupid. Or annoying. You’ll have to deal with it somewhere along the lines for your entire life. You might as well get creative and have some fun with it.

If you’d like to come see the volumes in which some of his insults were first used, please email us at archives@ucmail.uc.edu, visit us on the 8th floor of Blegen Library between 8:00 and 5:00, Monday through Friday, look for us on the web at www.libraries.uc.edu/arb.html, or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArchivesRareBooksLibraryUniversityOfCincinnati/. If you have any questions, or want to be randomly insulted with Shakespeare’s words, please call us at 513.556.1959 (If you’re calling for insults, please mention that specifically.)