Tips for Use. Good insult or characterization of someone whom you despise intensely, either physically but, more likely, metaphorically. Or apply self-effacingly to yourself when you show up in dirty attire or similar at a formal event, due to unforeseen circumstances. This and other hundreds of Shakespearean insults are found in the comprehensive book “Your Daily Shakespeare” – click on related menu items for details.
As a philological aside, “insult” or “to insult” is a direct derivation from the Latin “insultare”, that is “to assail, to leap upon.” Cicero already used the term in the sense of “to insult” – in this derivation from “in” and “salire”, “insalire”, to leap upon – meaning “to verbally abuse, to affront, to assail with disrespect.” Dr. Johnson, usually quite peppy in his famous Dictionary, is quite bland on this term explained as, “Act of Infolense or contempt”, as well as “To treat with Infolense or contempt.” As an example he quotes from Browne’s “Notes on the Odissey”, “Take the fentence feriously, becaufe railleries are an infult on the unfortunate.”
All entries on this site are derived from the book “Your Daily Shakespeare”. It contains 1390 pages identifying over 10,000 daily situations. Each situation directs you to one or more Shakespearean repartees, comments, and answers. Repartees, comments, and answers that will get you on the stage or at least out of the water – besides making you a regular winner of verbal contests. “Your Daily Shakespeare” has been described as the most unusual, useful and unique book of Shakespearean quotations. Nothing similar exists or has ever existed.
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In the play. Prospero describes Caliban.
Image source: http://startjournal.org/2011/03/different-but-one-15-the-makerere-masters/ — Painting by Godfrey Banadda, Makerere University