Vulgar insults are a two-edged sword: sure, they can cut someone down to size, but they reflect poorly on the person giving the insult. For many people, that’s not a problem. Many are proud of their vulgarity.
I am not one of those people.
There is nothing I love more than a witty, classic insult that allows the speaker to appear dignified as well as confounding the intended target. Here are several of my favorite clever comebacks from well-known classy people.
Feel free to use with abandon.
“The woman speaks eight languages and can’t say ‘no’ in any of them.” – Dorothy Parker
“I could never learn to like her, except on a raft at sea, with no other provisions in sight.” – Mark Twain
“He has delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr
“There is nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” – Jack E. Leonard
“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar WIlde
“He has all of the virtues I dislike, and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang
“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder
“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett Reed
“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any one I know.” – Abraham Lincoln
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright
“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson
“Thou hast no more brains in thy head than I have in my elbow.” -Shakespeare
“You know, you are a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain.” – Doctor Who
“You are a sad strange little man, and you have my pity.” – Toy Story
“I desire that we be better strangers.” – William Shakespeare, As You Like It