Erudite vituperation

Ever notice how foul invective and pusillanimous maledictions are acceptable if cloaked in Latinate construction, but if you’ve got your everyday, Anglo-Saxon equivalents on, it’s illegal. (Part of the reason I no longer have a radio show was management’s reluctance to let me use Denis Leary’s “The Asshole Song” as my theme song.) It’s class warfare, I tell ya! Keep the AOL proles from cursing!

Another fun way to fool the censors is with good old Elizabethan curses: Thou fobbing fool-born Fustilarian! Thou pribbling pox-marked pumpion! Thou beef-witted bootless bum-bailey! Or French: Honi soit! (basically the opposite of “Blessed Be”). Or Swahili: Wataka!

So…what’s your favorite curse?

Coitus can’t hoit us,
if we use latex when we flex our sex

Just a note, Doc: The “insult generator” is not unknown in these here parts…

Yer pal,

Six months, two weeks, four days, 22 hours, 15 minutes and 51 seconds.
8077 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,009.64.
Extra life with Drain Bead: 4 weeks, 1 hour, 5 minutes.

1996 · 1998 ··· WORLD CHAMPIONS ··· 1999 · 2000
26 Titles! The #1 Dynasty of all-time!
And most importantly… RULERS OF NYC!!

Probably the reason the why Elizabethan curses are acceptable is because back then, they had different ideas for insults. Telling someone you could see their ankle was equivilant to calling them a whore.

Telling someone now that you can see their ankle would get you laughed at, just as I am now laughing at you.

I didn’t claim to invent Elizabethian cursing, thou Phyrgian obfuscator, thou palpable carbuncular waffle, thou spawn of yrself; I just claimed to enjoy it. And, way back in the olden days, I believe that the correct way to call someone a whore was to call them a ‘whore’ (but I just got that out of a book, so I could be wrong).

I asked the resident Regency expert here for a good Regency curse, but all she could come up with was “son of a pox-ridden whore.”

It’s a lost art, I tell ya.

"that trunk of humours,
that bolting-hutch of beastliness,
that swollen parcel of dropsies,
that huge bombard of sack,
that stuffed cloak-bag of guts,
that roasted Manningtree ox
with the pudding in his belly,
that reverend vice,
that grey iniquity,
that father ruffian,
that vanity in years?

Wherein is he good,
but to taste sack and drink it?
wherein neat and cleanly,
but to carve a capon and eat it?
wherein cunning, but in craft?
wherein crafty, but in villany?
wherein villanous, but in all things?
wherein worthy, but in nothing?"

–King Henry IV, Part 1, Act 2, Scene iv

You shure do talk funny, mister. You some kinda forinore or somthen?

Egg salad! We just saw Orson Wells’ ‘antique clown, curbed by the rusty bit o law’ bit around here recently, and tho the concensus was he played a old man better when he was younger, it was better than being poked in the eye with a sharp stick, or in the mouth with an iron bit, as the case may be.

What caused me to post this in the first place was twofold: the odd observation that latin is ‘legal’ discourse, and anglo-saxon is ‘illegal’ discourse, and this remnant is codified in US law; and, secondly, to celebrate the lost art of vilification, as DRY has definitively done.

Apparently, the rest of you can rise no higher than Cartman’s ‘fuck-fuck-fuckity-fuck’. That’s only a gentle chide, you can’t help it, you were probably raised by television.

Hostie d’crisse de saint-sacrement de calice de sacrifice!

(lit. Communion wafer of Christ of the sacred sacrament of a chalice of a sacrifice!)

I do like French-Canadian invective. Yes I do.

Cryptic German (Viennese?) curse:
“Du kanst mich am Abends besuchen.”

(“You can visit me in the evening”. . . but recognized as naughty enough that you can’t safely say “Du kanst mich!” without people gasping.)

Admire your intent, Pinky, but might just quibble with the execution. A truly lethal insult isn’t just erudite; it’s apt. That is, stale overuse of the usual four letter words is lame, but a quality insult can’t be too show-offy. Erudition if fine but overuse is more self-indulgent than effective.

Shit. Now I’m getting into a wordy swamp…as usual.

Erudition has to be honed and wielded like a scalpel. Capping someone down in obscure literary references, Latin or cleverly translated Middle English just makes the insulter risible, not to mention wimpy lookin’.

Oh, piffle. It’s impossible to curse someone with a violation they don’t hold dear, or in language they don’t recognize.

I’m going away now.


Unfortunately, my French is so bad my “Honi soit” comes out “Honey sweet,” which rather defeats the purpose, don’t it?

QUOTE]*Originally posted by TVeblen *

Oh, piffle. It’s impossible to curse someone with a violation they don’t hold dear, or in language they don’t recognize.

Veb **

Point taken on your quibble. Why would I be practicing in the Pit, or requesting other’s favorite invectives if I didn’t recognize my own were in need of, ah, toning up?

I do think you can curse somebody in a language they don’t understand, however. It’s mostly a tonal thing. I have found the Greeks particularly sucessful in bridging that linguistic gap.

Dr. Pinky Well, I don’t know what your purposes are when addressing ladies whose garters are showing - for all I know “Honey sweet” might serve your purpose quite well.:slight_smile:

Hone a scalpel? What are you going to use, a piece of gravel? A scythe might be a tad cumbersome for the erudite, but a sickle would do.

10 points for getting the garter reference! (See, I’m not completely incomprehensible, just incredibly obscure.)

Honey swarms where mellisponds - Finnegans Wake, p. 238

Although I’ve yet to have the opportunity to use it in full form, one of my all time favorites is the Russian epithet;

“One who is scraped off the sheets with a spoon.”

Some day the chance will present itself, and I shall be ready.

Zenster, I like the Russian one - do you have a link to a whole site of great Russian insults, or could you you be persuaded to provide a vaguely phonetic version of that one at least? Please? I’m not yet planning to use it on anyone just yet, you understand, you illegitimate son of a mangy, farting camel, old friend, old buddy, it just seems to be something worth knowing. (Would probably use that one on myself on a Sunday morning really.)

I saw UncleBeer post this in some thread somewhere. Have fun kiddies.

“Slacker” seems to offend/embarrass people in public, without requiring an appology. As it becomes more dated, I’m starting to miss it.

I’m confused about what the hell “honi soit” is… doesn’t look familiar at all. Honi?

And matt_mcl, that line is perhaps sacreligious, yes, but hardly shocking to France-French speakers… I just smiled a little, and then started wondering how different Canadian French expressions are from French…

As far as favorite curses and stuff, Black Adder always has some wonderful ones.