Shakespearean Insults
both real and assembled from parts

This page exists because a link to a simple page of columns wasn't good anymore. I don't want to encourage people to insult others; that's not the purpose. These excerpts are funny on their own, though, and that's valuable. And the list went around for years before there was an internet on which people could create random generators for combinations of the phrases.

This is the best. It's not the original "generator," but it consists of full, real quotes, with explanations and references so you can find it in context in the original play. It's from a BBC site on the "One Night of Shakespeare" section. IMPROVE YOUR RUDE WORD POWER WITH THE SHAKESPEARE INSULT-O-MATIC! click on Shakespeare's face to get a new quote.


Shakespeare Insult Kit, provided, and with some additions at the bottom, by Chris Seidel.

Elizabethan Insult Kit (with a modern upgrade below)


Pete Levin's
This one has pull-down menus.

(and there are more out there), with actually useful Shakespeare links, too.

This one has some of both—from the kit and real quotes.

Tutorial showing how to create such an insult generator (and refreshing the page gets a new quote up top).

He smells like a fish, a very ancient and fish-like smell, a kind of, not the newest Poor-John.
Looks like gibberish to you? Here's what it all means:
Poor-John was salted and dried hake, a cheap fish eaten by the poor. As it was preserved, it would keep for quite a while, but wouldn't exactly smell very nice.

Fancy reading more like that? It's from:
The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 2
Such a want-wit!
Looks like gibberish to you? Here's what it all means:
A pretty clear one - if you want or need wit, then you're witless, an idiot.

Fancy reading more like that? It's from:
Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 1
You egg! Young fry of treachery!
Looks like gibberish to you? Here's what it all means:
To call someone an egg was to draw attention to their youth, suggesting they're so young that they're not even hatched yet. Fry has a similar meaning - it's a tiny, just-hatched fish.

Fancy reading more like that? It's from:
Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 2

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