11 Classy Insults With Classical Greek and Latin Roots
By Arika Okrent
Do you ever go on such an epic internet rant you just feel you’ve run out of words with which to hammer your enemies? Do you want to up your game without resorting to the tired tropes of excretion and sexual metaphors? Next time, pull out these fancy insults and class up the joint while you twist the dagger.
Lice-infested. From Latin pediculus (louse).
Yellow-toothed. From Greek xanthos (yellow) and odont- (a combining form for tooth).
Gasbag. From Latin ructus (belch) and abundus (abundant).
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Thoroughly wicked, villainous. From Latin flagitium (shameful act).
Worthless, consisting of trash. From Latin quisquiliae (waste matter, rubbish).
Fork-tongued. From Latin fissus (split) and lingua (tongue).
Busybody, gossip-monger. From Latin quid nunc? (what now?).
Brainless. From Latin ex (out, without) and cerebrum (brain).
Flaky, dandruff-covered. From Latin furfur (bran, chaff).
Bug-eyed. From Greek ex (out) and ophthalmos (eye).
A learned fool. From Greek moros (stupid) and sophos (wise).
A version of this story ran in 2014; it has been updated for 2021.