70 most famous insults from Shakespeare’s plays

Most famous insults from Shakespeare's plays

This extensive list includes over 70 Shakespearean insults that you can use in every situation.

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


Most famous Shakespearean insults - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Insult: I am sick when I look on thee.
Translation: Just looking at you makes me sick.
From: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – 1600.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - All's Well That Ends Well

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.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - As You Like It

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.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - Hamlet

Insult: They have a plentiful lack of wit.
Translation: They are stupid.
From: Hamlet – 1603.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - Henry IV

Insult: Go, ye giddy goose.
Translation: Stop, you silly oaf.
From: Henry IV – 1709.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - King Lear

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.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - Macbeth

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.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - Measure for Measure

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.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - Much Ado About Nothing

Insult: Men from children nothing differ.
Translation: Men a children.
From: Much Ado About Nothing – 1600.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - Richard III

Insult: Thou art unfit for any place but hell.
Translation: You belong to hell.
From: Richard III – 1597.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - Romeo and Juliet

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.


Most famous Shakespearean insults - The Taming of the Shrew

Insult: Away, you three-inch fool!
Translation: Go away, you small man!
From: The Taming of the Shrew – 1888.

Via All images via Invaluable Blog.

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