To celebrate the birthday and death of the Bard on April 23, Invaluable, an online marketplace for fine arts, antique books, and collectibles, has published a list of most famous insults from Shakespeare’s plays.
The list includes over 70 quotes, and some of them – mentioning only “Away, you three-inch fool!” – you must have already known.
Twelve of these insults first used by William Shakespeare were stylishly visualized by the team from Invaluable, together with the meaning of each passage and the play it comes from.
We showcase the most interesting insults below. However, make sure to visit the original blog post if you want to learn all the passages. There, you will also be able to filter the quotes (acquaintance, lover, enemy, colleague).
While reading insults from the world’s most adored writer is fun, it’s even more fun to create your own one in the sheer Shakespearean style.
Insults from Shakespeare’s most famous works
Insult: I am sick when I look on thee.
Translation: Just looking at you makes me sick.
From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – 1600.
Insult: A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.
Translation: You are a coward and a liar, you break all your promises, and you have no good qualities.
From: All’s Well That Ends Well – 1623.
Insult: I do desire that we may be better strangers.
Translation: I think it would be better if we weren’t friends.
From: As You Like It – 1623.
Insult: They have a plentiful lack of wit.
Translation: They are stupid.
From: Hamlet – 1603.
Insult: Go, ye giddy goose.
Translation: Stop, you silly oaf.
From: Henry IV – 1709.
Insult: Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.
Translation: You are a pustule, a sore, a tumor corrupting my lineage.
From: King Lear – 1608.
Insult: It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Translation: This story was told by an idiot. It’s full of hyperbole and has no meaning.
From: Macbeth – 1608.
Insult: Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.
Translation: Your mistake was not a one-time accident, but a habit.
From: Measure for Measure – 1623.
Insult: Men from children nothing differ.
Translation: Men a children.
From: Much Ado About Nothing – 1600.
Insult: Thou art unfit for any place but hell.
Translation: You belong to hell.
From: Richard III – 1597.
Insult: He is a gentleman that loves to hear himself talk, and will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month.
Translation: He is a man who likes to hear the sound of his own voice. He says more in one minute than he does in a whole month.
From: Romeo and Juliet – 1597.
Insult: Away, you three-inch fool!
Translation: Go away, you small man!
From: The Taming of the Shrew – 1888.
• • •
More to explore: