Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Twits, oafs, louts and lowlife

English has a huge vocabulary of insult that is constantly being renewed. Think of fairly recent terms of offence such as plonker, nerd, piss–artist, trailer–trash, couch–potato, wanker. Here is just a sample of mainly historical and dialect words crying out for readmission to the modern lexicon. 

Alcatote – a simpleton 
Bawdstrot – a procuress 
Beaunasty – a man who is dirty but elegantly dressed 
Bezonian – a mean, low person 
Borborymite – a user of filthy language 
Caitiff – a base wretch 
Chuff – a fat, coarse person 
Clodpoll – a stupid person (also Clodpate) 
Cockabaloo – a bullying, overbearing boss 
Cudden – a born fool 
Cuttie – a foul-mouthed defamer of others 
Dandiprat – a prattling dandy; a worthless nothing. 
Dogberry – an overly officious twit (from the constable in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing) 
Dotterel – a sucker 
Drassock – a slovenly woman 
Drumble – a lazy person 
Dunderwhelp – both foolish and horrid 
Franion – a man of loose morals 
Fustilarian – a low scoundrel (from Shakespeare) 
Gangrel – a dishonest vagrant 
Gigg – a strumpet 
Gormless – stupid and rather lacking in initiative 
Gossoon – a large oaf (Irish) 
Growtnoll – a blockhead 
Gulchin – a young glutton 
Hoddypeke – a cuckold 
Jacksauce – a rude person 
Jeeter – an ill–mannered slob 
Kern – a peasant or bumpkin 
Lickspittle – a sponge or parasite (also Lickspigot) 
Lollard – a loafer (Dutch for mumble, originally a term of contempt for the followers of John Wyclif) 
Looby – a hulking, indolent oaf 
Losel – a sad, worthless person 
Micher – a sneaky loiterer 
Milksop – a weak or timid person 
Mome – a blockhead 
Moonling – a simpleton 
Muckworm – a miser 
Mullipuff – a twerp 
Nipcheese – a cheapskate 
Nobbler – a swindler 
Nuthook – a sneak thief or burglar 
Omadhaun – fool (Irish) 
Pilgarlic – a self–pitying wretch 
Moot — a tart 
Puckfist — a braggart 
Quetcher — a constant talker; a bullshitter (from the Yiddish) 
Rakehell — a debauched, drunken brawler 
Rampallian — a sorry wretch (Shakespeare Henry IV, Part II) 
Rumpot — a drunkard 
Runnion — a paltry ne’er–do–well 
Scelerat — a wicked person (French) 
Scomm — a buffoon 
Skellum — a villain 
Smellsmock — a lecher 
Taradiddler — a petty liar 
Toady — a sycophant (originally Toadeater) 
Troppop — a variant of trollop 
Wheech — Scottish for nitwit 
Xantippe — a shrewish woman (after Socrates’s wife) 

From: The Book of WHO?; An Onomasticon of People & Characters Real & Imaginary – Compiled and edited by Rodney Dale

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