(Please note: All opinions are my own and do not reflect the views of the Mega Foundation.)
Are you weary of the severely limited choices in insults voiced by characters in books, television and movies?
After speed-reading/scanning several bestselling books wherein the crude phrase count went past double digits before the plot congealed, I started longing for innovation in insults.
Happily, Jack Lynch has edited Samuel Johnson's Insults: A Compendium of Snubs, Sneers, Slights and Effronteries.
Jack Lynch's website reference:
Lackbrain, oysterwench, wantwit, clotpoll--Samuel Johnson's famous dictionary of 1755 contained some of the ripest insults in the English language. In Samuel Johnson's Insults, Jack Lynch has compiled more than 300 of the curmudgeonly lexicographer's mightiest barbs, along with definitions only the master himself could elucidate.
Word lovers will delight in flexing their linguistic muscles with devilishly descriptive vituperations that pack a wicked punch. Many of these zingers have long lain dormant. Some have even come close to extinction. Now they're back in all their prickly glory, ready to be relished once more.
An interactive insults quiz is available from the Levenger.com website:
The eighteenth century was a golden age of insults, with Swift, Pope and Voltaire providing much of the lucre. When it came to verbal goring, though, Samuel Johnson's lance was among the sharpest. He adored a good sparring and reveled in giving much better than he got.
Take Our Insults Quiz
Among the 300+ insults defined as only Johnson could - and culled from his famous Dictionary - are the ones below. See if you can guess their meanings. Just roll your mouse over the buttons to reveal Johnson's definitions.
Samuel Johnson's Insults... includes word derivations and historical context notes.
Included are words like abbeylubber, failtour, fopdoodle, glike, nidget, nimmer, pervicacious, pettifogger, pickthank, rampallian, and, of course, wantwit.
Since I prefer to avoid those who warrant the descriptors listed above, how can I use my new vocabulary choices? Yes, of course...
Attributed to Samuel Johnson is:
“The characteristick of our own government at present is imbecility”
Perhaps I can practice my new vocabulary choices after reading the news.