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20 Smart Medieval Insults in English That Should Make a Comeback

If you want to insult someone in the most subtle yet powerful way, you have to know a few tips. Use medieval insults for the ultimate impact!

Medieval Insults in English

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

Why are medieval insults so effective?

They’re just so clever but odd at the same time! Much of the time, you could be insulting someone and they wouldn’t have a clue. Medieval insults use the best of sarcasm and throw in plenty of rhyming oddness for good measure. [Read: 101 Savage good comebacks for every witty, fun, or rude comment]

Today’s insults are just so basic. If you don’t like someone, you don’t really have much of a choice except to just say it. However, in medieval times, you could use word play and really insult the life out of them, all with a smile that says you’re joking. Obviously, you’re not joking at all.

All of this means that you can insult someone who is perhaps your boss or someone else in charge, and they wouldn’t be any of the wiser!

The 20 best medieval insults

Most people may not be aware but medieval language was 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. The fun thing is, it was done with so much humor and off-handedness, that they got away with it every single time. [Read: 9 Witty comebacks to use on an overly flirtatious guy]

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.

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 was 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 placed a huge amount of importance on social class. 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 one of the compound medieval insults 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!” [Read: How to set boundaries with friends without hurting or insulting them]

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. Let’s hope not!

7. Loggerhead

A blockheaded person incapable of understanding. It’s one of the best medieval insults to use these days because nobody will understand that you’re insulting them!

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]

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. Basically the same as 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 loaf or a useless person who just takes up space.

Sample sentence: “Either that cumberworld finds 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 describe 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 during 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.”

18. 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

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: How to not be annoying and be everyone’s best friend]

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 to 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...
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