Classic insults and barbs

These insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to four-letter words. When writers and speakers pondered upon words and weighed each of them before making a sentence.

  • He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. – Winston Churchill
  • I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. – Clarence Darrow
  • Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it. – Moses Hadas
  • I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. – Mark Twain
  • He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends. – Oscar Wilde
  • I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here. – Stephen Bishop
  • He is a self-made man and worships his creator. – John Bright
  • I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial. – Irvin S. Cobb
  • He’s not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others. – Samuel Johnson
  • He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up. – Paul Keating
  • In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily. – Charles, Count Talleyrand
  • He loves nature in spite of what it did to him. – Forrest Tucker
  • Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it? – Mark Twain
  • His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork. – Mae West
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go. – Oscar Wilde
  • He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts … For support rather than illumination. – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
  • I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it. – Groucho Marx
  • There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure. – Jack E. Leonard
  • He has the attention span of a lightning bolt. – Robert Redford
  • They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge. – Thomas Brackett Reed
  • He has Van Gogh’s ear for music. – Billy Wilder
  • He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. – Abraham Lincoln
  • He’s a modest little person, with much to be modest about. – Winston Churchill
  • I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend … if you have one. – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.  Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second … if there is one. – Winston Churchill (in response)
  • The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, “If you were my husband, I’d give you poison.” He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
  • A Member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.” “That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

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