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.
#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.
#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.
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 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...