48 Unmatched Shakespearean Insults That Still Burn

27 October 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden

William Shakespeare once compared a precious someone to a summer’s day. Hence his famous Sonnet 18 with the first two lines saying “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” Oh, isn’t that sweet?​​ To be compared to a beautiful sunny, summer day. To be someone’s muse of very pretty verses. Doesn’t that make your heart beat like a drum? Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. And just like you, I’d be swooning right away, if I was the recipient of those bewitching words. Shakesy-P, that’s it… your powerful words charmed me and the rest of your audience straight away. Just like how Juliet fell under a love spell right after seeing Romeo that starry night.

But what would happen if your special someone turns into a cloud of gray? Surely, your feelings will change in a blink of an eye and you will no longer be stuck in that lavender haze (yes, Midnights has been my anthem). Then, you might also have to bite your tongue because you don’t want to say those overused, regretful words. However, if you wish to borrow some catty clever phrases for venting, journaling purposes and whatnot, then our dearly beloved Bard of Avon has some specific material for this reason. As you can guess, Shakespeare isn’t just a man of sweet nothings, for his words can also sting like a bee. And they say actions speak louder than words, well in this case, ha. Idiots.

Quick tangent: You can read the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in French, Spanish, German, Korean, Japanese, and more classics with Beelinguapp. Download it now.

  1. There’s small choice in rotten apples. (Taming of the Shrew)
    Translation: Eh, there’s nothing much to choose from here.
  2. He has not so much brain as ear-wax. (Troilus and Cressida)
    Translation: He is useless.
  3. Like the toad; ugly and venomous. (As You Like It)
    Translation: Oh my! What happened to you? You look… ugly.
  4. What an ass! (Hamlet)
    Translation: What an ass!
  5. Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood. (King Lear)
    Translation: I don’t like you, you ugly leech!
  6. You have a February nose, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness. (Much Ado About Nothing)
    Translation: Puh-lease... you’re already ugly and you look terribly angry.
  7. Thou elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog! (Richard III)
    Translation: You are a hideous elf looking twit.
  8. I do desire that we may be better strangers. (As You Like It)
    Translation: *Wink* It would be best if we just forget about each other.
  9. I will bite my thumb at them, which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it. (Romeo and Juliet)
    Translation: *Middle finger to the sky*
  10. What, you egg! Young fry of treachery! (Macbeth)
    Translation: Huh, you know nothing you hatchling.
  11. You cankerblossom. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
    Translation: This is why we can’t have nice things.
  12. Your brain is as dry as the remained biscuit after voyage. (As You Like It)
    Translation: You are soooooooooooooo boring, I can no longer stand talking to you.
  13. Out of my sight! Thou dost infect my eyes. (Richard III)
    Translation: Please leave, I don’t ever want to see you again.
  14. Away, you three-inch fool. (The Taming of the Shrew)
    Translation: Shoo, you pickle-sized bozo.
  15. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate. (Measure for Measure)
    Translation: I fully believe that you are a pompous phony.
  16. Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream.)
    Translation: Looking at you makes me sick. *Cough* *Cough*
  17. I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands. (Timon of Athens)
    Translation: No, thanks. My hands are too precious to be anywhere close to you.
  18. More of your conversation would infect my brain. (Coriolanus)
    Translation: Please stop talking, you’re annoying me.
  19. The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes. (The Comedy of Errors)
    Translation: U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi. Boy, you ugly.
  20. There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune. (Henry IV)
    Translation: Yeah, I don’t believe a single word you’re saying, not one single bit.
  21. Thine face is not worth sunburning. (Henry V)
    Translation: Please stay inside, no one has to see you. Not even the sun.
  22. Thou cream faced loon. (Macbeth)
    Translation: You’re a pasty-faced coward.
  23. Let’s meet as little as we can. (As You Like It)
    Translation: Let’s meet as little as we can. Or maybe never.
  24. Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile. (Cymbeline)
    Translation: Every single word that comes out of your mouth is pure poison. Yuck.
  25. You are as a candle, the better burnt out. (Henry IV)
    Translation: Your best fashion choice? Looking tired, worn out, pooped.
  26. You, minion, are too saucy. (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
    Translation: You are too infuriating.
  27. Saucy lackey! (As You Like It)
    Translation: Sassy kiss-ass!
  28. I do wish thou were a dog, that I might love thee. (Timon of Athens)
    Translation: Let’s face it, a dog is better and more lovable than you.
  29. Thou art unfit for any place but hell. (Richard III)
    Translation: You belong in hell.
  30. Villain, I have done thy mother. (Titus Andronicus)
    Translation: Yo mama…
  31. You are not worth another word, else I’d call you knave. (All’s Well that Ends Well)
    Translation: Eh, there’s no point wasting my breath on you.
  32. Away! Thou’rt poison to my blood. (Cymbeline)
    Translation: Go away, you make me sick.
  33. They have a plentiful lack of wit. (Hamlet)
    Translation: You’re stupid.
  34. They lie deadly that tell you you have good faces. (Coriolanus)
    Translation: LOL, do you really believe them when they tell you that you’re cute?
  35. You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things. (Julius Caesar)
    Translation: Yeah, you’re not smart at all.
  36. Your abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone. (Coriolanus)
    Translation: This isn’t working. You’re too immature for me.
  37. Vile worm, thou wast o’erlook’d even in thy birth. (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
    Translation: Gosh! Who let you in looking like that?
  38. Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell. (Othello)
    Translation: You are fake and everyone knows it.
  39. In civility thou seem’st so empty. (As You Like It)
    Translation: It’s a no for me. You have no personality.
  40. This kiss is as comfortless as frozen water to a starved snake. (Titus Andronicus)
    Translation: Oopsie, this kiss makes me feel nothing.
  41. Thou crusty batch of nature! (Troilus and Cressida)
    Translation: YOU are a scumbag.
  42. I wonder that you will still be talking. Nobody marks you. (Much Ado About Nothing)
    Translation: Seriously, no one is listening to you. Shut up already.
  43. Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows. (Troilus and Cressida)
    Translation: You’re a brainless fool.
  44. Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat. (Henry V)
    Translation: YOU ARE A PIG.
  45. Thou art the cap of all the fools. (Timon of Athens)
    Translation: You are the fool of all fools.
  46. Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon. (Timon of Athens)
    Translation: Oh, if only you were clean enough to spit upon.
  47. Away you mouldy rogue, away! (Henry IV)
    Translation: Bye, Felicia!
  48. She speaks yet she says nothing. (Romeo and Juliet)
    Translation: What are you even saying?

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