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20 Smart Medieval Insults in English That Should Make a Comeback

Medieval Insults in English

You would be surprised to know what colorful medieval insults find their way into ancient texts, artifacts, and ruins throughout history.

In human history, the ability to offend another person through words is probably as old as language itself. And speaking of insults, the medieval era distinguishes itself above all else with producing the most colorful and offensive quips ever uttered. And we’d love to see these 20 medieval insults reinstated today.

The 20 best medieval insults

Most people may not be aware but language during medieval times is far from the polite and romantic as portrayed by costume dramas. With education limited to a few monks, the common tavern dweller uttered the most abusive, politically incorrect tirade, offensive enough to send the political correctness police into fits.

So, the next time you’re about to have a verbal spar with your friends, go medieval on their asses with these insults from another time in history.

Insults referring to social class

We all know from our history lesson that the medieval society is divided into the aristocracy, the middle class tradesmen, and the peasantry all keen in using the lower social rank to insult the other.

#1 Churl/Churlish. This word originated from the old English word “ceorl” which is a derogatory term to describe the lowest social class. Using this word to an aristocrat or a tradesman is highly offensive and often resulted in duels or stabbings.

Sample sentence: “You may wear those fancy clothes, but you’re nothing but a churl.” [Read: Trendy? Have we traded fat shaming for skinny shaming]

#2 Hedge-born. Similar to Game of Thrones’ use of “high-born” or “low-born,” hedge-born simply refers to a person of low social class, specifically a peasant or serf. Noticeably, people from the middle ages place a big deal on social class and associating one from the upper class to the lower is a good way to raise pulses.

Sample sentence: “Make yourself scarce, I can’t be breathing the same air as a hedge-born.” [Read: 12 types of humor and how it affects the people around you]

#3 Crooked-nosed knave. This is a compound insult that attacks both appearance and social class. The word knave is from an Old Norse word used to describe a lowly servant boy. The medieval use of the word however implies a deceitful and untrustworthy person that possesses no class or good manners.

Sample sentence: “Here, take my wallet you crooked-nosed knave! I have more where it came from!”

#4 Base football player. This insult refers to a person who’s poor, dirty, and unruly. The term references the violent origin of football amongst the masses which the upper classes scorned and disapproved.

Sample sentence: “This table is for proper people, not base football players like you!”

Insults to intelligence

These are the middle age’s multiple-worded and more creative take on the word “idiot.”

#5 Fopdoodle. Or another word for dumbass.

#6 Fat-kidneyed. Another medieval word for stupid. It comes from a belief that dumb people have the aforementioned anatomical distinction.

#7 Loggerhead. A blockheaded person incapable of understanding.

#8 Clout. A thick-skulled and clumsy person.

#9 Fustilugs. This insult refers to a person of large stature but meagre-brained, or an oaf.

#10 Dalcop. Literally means a dull-headed person. “Cop” is an old English word for head. [Read: How to be masculine without being a jerk]

Other insults

Medieval people had a whole repertoire of insults to make fun of appearance, parentage, and other physical and personal characteristics.

#11 Bespawler. This word refers to a person who generates a massive amount of spit as he talks.

Sample sentence: “Get your umbrellas ready. Here comes Martin the Bespawler”

#12 Doxy. Refers to a promiscuous woman with little sexual restraint. Analogous to the modern-day “slut.”

Sample sentence: “I can’t believe you’re going out with her. Everybody knows she’s quite a doxy.”

#13 Cumberworld. This insult refers to a loafer or a useless person who just takes up space.

Sample sentence: “Either that cumberworld starts to find a job or I’m kicking him out.”

#14 Harpy. The harpy comes from man-eating, female faced winged monsters from Greek mythology. Used in the middle ages to describes a woman who’s a ferocious nagger.

Sample sentence: “John spends most of the day at the pub to get away from his harpy of a wife.” [Read: 20 circumstances when it’s okay to say “I hate my wife”]

#15 Trencherman. Someone who eats too much and goes to different social events only for the food. The word comes from “trencher,” a large slice of stale bread used as a plate on medieval banquets.

Sample sentence: “Grab that donut before Dave the trencherman clears the whole box.”

#16 Puterelle. An insult that refers to a woman who is careless with her “virtue” or a woman who sleeps around. Note that the Italian and Spanish word for whore is “puta.”

Sample sentence: “She may be rich and famous, but that puterelle isn’t fooling anybody.” [Read: 12 positive lessons we can learn from sluts]

#17 Yaldson. When directed at you means that you are the son of a prostitute. This insult has made its way to modern times in the form of “whoreson” or “son of a bitch.”

Sample sentence: “Leave my sister alone, you yaldson!”

#18 Mandrake mymmerkin. A man with a short penis who cannot please his wife. This insult has very grave consequences when spoken during medieval times.

Sample sentence: “After they broke up, she got her revenge by telling everyone that he’s a mandrake mymmerkin.”

#19 Levereter. Comes from the French word for “liver-eater.” An insult that refers to a corrupt person who cheats other people for personal gain.

Sample sentence: “That guy is such a levereter that he’d sell his parents just to get the position.” [Read: Smartass quotes: 48 smart and sarcastic lines that kick ass]

#20 Cox-comb. This is the old English spelling of a cock’s comb. The insult refers to a vain, foppish, and superficial person who pays too much attention to dress and looks.

Sample sentence: “I heard that that cox-comb takes 30 minutes longer than his girlfriend to dress-up.”

[Read: 33 creative ways to intellectually insult someone]

Some of these insults managed to be forgotten in history due to their severe offensiveness. However, when the situation is apt and modern language lacks in expressing your hostility, pull one of these medieval insults out of the bag and use them with great effect.

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Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul aka Morty is a keyboard-pounding cubicle-dweller based in Manila where he occasionally moonlights as a writer for anyone in need of his mediocre word-strin...
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