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Shakespearean insult generator


William Shakespeare is recognized for his artful wordplay and mastery of language. However, it is exactly this use of language that frequently makes his works difficult for modern-day readers to understand. 16th and 17th century English is florid, symbolic and full of meaning that would not be familiar to many of us today. So, we’ve compiled a small collection of some interesting words the Bard has used in his works as an introduction to some of our resources and, maybe, even help you understand an Elizabethan insult or two!

Definitions

WordDefinition
Angel(n) - 1. Evil genius, demon 2. Good genius, darling 3. Gold coin, having as its device the archangel Michael
Ape(n) - 1. Imitator 2. Fool 3. Term of endearment
Apple-john(n) - A kind of apple with a shriveled skin (associated with St. John's Day.)
Assail(vb) - Address with offers of love, woo, attempt to seduce
Atomy(adj) - 1. atom, mote, minute mark 2. Tiny being, mite
Barnacle(n) - Species of goose, believes to have begun life as a barnacle
Bass-court(n) - Lower courtyard, servant’s courtyard
Beef-witted(adj) - Beef-brained, thick-witted, brainless
Beetle-headed(adj) - Thick-headed, doltish
Beslubbering(adv) - Besmearing, bedaubing, spreading thickly
Best-tempered(adj) - Most skillfully crafted, of the finest quality [as of metal]
Biddy(n) - Fowl, chicken
Bilbo(n) - Well tempered sword (the test used to establish...)
Bladder(n) - Boil, pustule
Boil-brained(adj) - Hot-head, maniac, headstrong fellow
Bombard(n) - Leather jug for liquor
Bombast(n) - Cotton wool used for padding or stuffing
Bootless(adv) - Fruitlessly, uselessly, unsuccessfully, in vain; (adj) fruitless, useless, worthless
Bug-bear(n) - Hobgoblin, bogeyman
Bully(n) - A term of endearment and familiarity, fine fellow, a good friend
Candle-Waster(n) - Student, who sits late over his books
Carbuncle(n) - Precious stone of a red or firey color
Churlish(adj) - 1. Rude, blunt, ungracious 2. Violent, rough, harsh 3. Stiff, hard, unyielding
Clay-brained(adj) - Stupid
Clouted(adj) - Metal-studded, hobnailed
Cockered(adj) - Spoiled, indulged, pampered
Craven(adj) 1. Cowardly, weak-hearted, spineless 2. (n) [Cockfighting] Cock that shows no fighting spirit, coward 3. (v) Make cowardly, make timorous
Currish(adj) - Mean-spirited, snarling, quarrelsome
Dankish(adj) - Dank, damp, humid
Dewberry(n) - Variety of blackberry
Dismal-dreaming(adv) - Full of ill-boding dreams
Dissembling1. (adj) Deceitful, hypocritical, false 2. (n) Pretense, deceit, dissimulation
Earth-Vexing(n) - Troubling man's life
Eight Penny(adj) - Of little value
Enjoy(vb) - Possession of or use
Errant(adj) - Wandering, straying, erring
Fat-kidneyed(adj) - Gross and lubberly
Fawn(v) - Revel, gloat, show delight
Ferret(vb) - To worry
Fitchew, Fitchook(n) - A polecat
Fobbing(v) - Put off with a trick, get rid of, dispose of
Frothy(n) 1. Insubstantial thing, empty moment 2. (v) Make beer foam up
Froward(adj) - 1. Perverse, obstinate, willful, ungovernable 2. adverse, unfavorable, contrary
Fustilarian(n) - Smelly old woman
Fut(n) - God's foot
Gleeking1. To Gleek (n) taunt, jibe, insult 2. (v) Make a pointed joke, jest, gibe
Glut(vb) - 1. To swallow greedily, 2. To satiate
Gorbellied(adj) - Pot-bellied, fat-paunched
Harpy(n) - Half woman/ half vulture
Ill-bred(adj) - Badly brought up, lacking good manners
Impertinent(adj) - 1. Irrelevant, beside the point 2. Malapropism for ‘pertinent’
InfectiousTo infect (v) affect, influence, stir
Jolt head(n) - Blockhead, dolt, numskull
Loggerheaded(adj) - Thick-headed, stupid, doltish
Lumpish(adj) - Despondent, dejected, in low spirits
Mammer(v) - Stammer, hesitate, mutter
Mangled(adj) - To wound, gash, hack
Mew(v) - To mew like a cat, cry feebly
Month's Mind(n) - Inclination, liking
Motley-minded(adj) - Foolish
Nose-herb(n) - Scented plant, herb for smelling [as opposed to eating]
Nut-hook(n) - Constable, officer (a hook for pulling down nuts, hence a thief)
Oniin-eyed(adj) - Eyes filled with tears
Pathetical(adj) - 1. Moving, affecting 2. (Derogatory) Pitiable, despicable, contemptible
Paunch(v) - Stab in the paunch, wound in the stomach
Pigeon egg(n) - Something very small or insignificant
Pribble(vb) - Vain chatter and silly quarreling
Puny(adj) - Untried, inexperienced
Rank(adj) - 1. Growing in abundance, excessively luxuriant (unattractively) 2. Foul smelling, stinking 3. Foul, festering, diseased 4. Gross, outlandish, coarse 5. Lascivious, lustful, lewd
Reeky(adj) - Foul-smelling, smoky
Roguish(adj) - Wild
Rump-fed(adj) - Pampered
Scut(n) - Short tail (as of a deer)
Sith(adv) - Since that time
Smilet(n) - Slight smile
Spleeny(adj) - Hot-headed, over-emotional
Spongy(adj) - 1. Rainy, damp, soggy 2. Soaked with drink, drunken
Surly(adj) - 1. Imperious, haughty, arrogant 2. Gloomy, dismal, stern
Sweet-suggesting(adj) - Sweetly tempting, seductive, irresistible
Tiger-footed(adj) - Fierce and swift
Tottering(adj) - 1. Wavering, vacillating, fluctuating 2. Tattered, ragged, frayed
True-penny(n) - An honest or trusty person
Vain(adj) - 1. Foolish, silly, stupid 2. Worthless, idle, useless, empty 3. (n) Deceptive, false idle (in words)
Varlet(n) - Knave, rogue, rascal
Venomed(adj) - Venomous, poisonous
Villainous(adj) - Vilely, detestably
Wafer-cake(n) - Type of thin, lightweight cake
Wag(n) - Mischievous boy
Warped(adj) - Twisted, distorted
Wayward(adj) - 1. Perverse, unreasonable, awkward 2. Changeable, capricious, erratic, 3. Hostile, contrary, antagonistic
Weedy(adj) - Made of weeds
Weeping-ripe(adj) - Ready to weep, on the point of tears
Young-eyed(adj) - Having the bright or lively eyes of a young person. Frequently figurative (chiefly poetic): energetic lively, enthusiastic; naive; new.

Sources