We all know Ol’ Billy Shakes has a way with words, but his biggest talent, in my opinion, was for the artisanally crafted sick burn. It takes a true Shakespeare nerd to have a favorite Shakespearean insult. There is at least one solid roasting in every play. You’re in luck, because we at Book Riot are chock full of nerds and favorites.
Without further ado, here are our favorite Shakespearean insults. Wield them with care, and skewer your opponents with your rapier wit.
“Away, you three-inch fool!” —The Taming of the Shrew (Act 3, Scene 3)
“For I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can; you are not for all markets.” —As You Like It (Act 3, Scene 5)
“Away, thou tedious rogue! I am sorry I shall lose a stone by thee.”
(Throws a stone at him) —Timon of Athens (Act 4, Scene 3)
(Stabbing him) What, you egg?
Young fry of treachery!” —Macbeth (Act 4, Scene 2)
“I do desire we may be better strangers.” —As You Like It (Act III, Scene 2)
“I am sick when I do look on thee.” —A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 2, Scene 1)
“ABRAM: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
ABRAM: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” —Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, Scene 1)
“Go prick thy face, and over-red thy fear,
Thou lily-liver’d boy.” —Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 3)
“Thou art a boil,
A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle
In my corrupted blood.” —King Lear (Act 2, Scene 4)
“I do desire we may be better strangers.” —As You Like It (Act 3, Scene 2)
“Get you gone, you dwarf,
You minimus of hindering knotgrass made,
You bead, you acorn!” —A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 3, Scene 2)
“Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done?
Aaron: That which thou canst not undo.
Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.
Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.” —Titus Andronicus (Act 4, Scene 2)
Anne: “Out of my sight! Thou dost infect mine eyes.” —Richard III (Act 1, Scene 2)
“Marry, sir, she’s the kitchen wench, and all grease, and I know not what use to put her to but to make a lamp of her and run from her by her own light.” —A Comedy of Errors (Act III, scene ii)
“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!” —Julius Caesar (Act I scene i)
“Beetle-headed flap-ear’d knave,” —The Taming of the Shrew (Act IV, Scene I)
“I’ll beat thee, but I should infect my hands.” —Timon of Athens (Act 4, Scene 3)
“Slanders, sir. For the satirical rogue says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams—all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir, should be old as I am, if like a crab you could go backward.” —Hamlet, (Act 2, Scene 8)
We bid you adieu, but first: what are your favorite Shakespearean insults? Drop your favorite in the comments section and join in the fun.
[Exit, pursued by a bear.]