Do you usually lose arguments with your buddies? Are you often the butt of the joke in your friendship group and you wish you had a witty quip to turn the tables on them? Then it’s time to take control of your own narrative and dish the dirt back for once.
Armed with these eight excellent insults from our man Shakespeare, you can always end the discussion on a high. Not only will your friends be impressed by your cultural and linguistic knowledge, but you’ll also be slandering them with a barb 400 years in the making. Very cool.
1. “I am sick when I do look on thee”
– A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 2, scene 1)
Translation: You feel physically sick just looking at them.
2. “Away thou rag, thou quantity, thou remnant.”
– Taming of the Shrew (Act 4, scene 3)
Translation: You are a rag – a very small thing that remains.
3. “You have a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.”
– Much Ado About Nothing (Act 5, scene 4)
Translation: Your face looks cold and unpleasant, and you seem angry.
4. “Out of my sight! Thou dost infect my eyes.”
– Richard III (Act 1, scene 2)
Translation: My eyes are contaminated simply by looking at you, so please leave.
5. “What, you egg?”
– Macbeth (Act 4, scene 2)
Translation: You are an egg. I.e. oval shaped, boring, dull, stupid; without any defining features.
6. “Thou art a very ragged wart.”
– Henry IV (Act 3, scene 2)
Translation: This one is pretty straightforward. You’re a wart.
7. “How now, thou crusty batch of nature! What’s the news?”
– Troilus and Cressida (Act 5, scene 1)
Translation: What’s up? You look hard and crumbly and generally pretty gross.
8. “Away, you mouldy rogue, away!”
– Henry IV (Act 2, scene 2)
Translation: You are a furry growth of undesirable and dishonest funghi and I want you to leave.