Today I thought I'd share some fun insults from a book I have on my desk called, Samuel Johnson's Insults. But first, I'll tell you about the man...
Dr. Johnson - as he was often called - was a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer. In 1755, Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published after nine years of work. It has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship," and considered the pre-eminent British dictionary until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary (also known as the OED). According to my little book, Johnson's "was an age of insults. Never has abuse been served up with more zest than in the eighteenth century." For example, "when the earl of Standish complained that his former friend, the libertine John Wilkes, '[would] die either on the gallows, or of the pox,' Wilkes replied, 'That must depend on whether I embrace your lordship's principles or your mistress.'"*
Here then, are a few insults from the book:
footlicker: A slave; an humble fawner, one who licks the foot.
looby: A lubber; a clumsy clown.
pettifogger: A petty small-rate lawyer.
slubberdegullion: A paltry, dirty, sorry wretch.
toper: A drunkard.
Now, go forth and see if you can't make use of one of these words today. I'm sure you can find at least one footlicker in your travels.
*Sources: Wikipedia, and, Samuel Johnson's Insults, ed. by Jack Lynch