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By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Helen Hunt Jackson - September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

John Updike, September
Learn English in September

Historical insults from the Oxford Dictionary

FrankFrank ModeratorPosts: 6,645 mod
Historical insults from the Oxford Dictionary

Have you ever insulted someone or are you planning to do so? Of course not! On this forum there are only nice people and undoubtedly you are one of them.

However If you ever feel the inclination to insult someone, the Oxford Dictionary offers you a few interesting historical insults. When you use these, you are at least original in the way you express yourself. It might be that your victim doesn't feel that insulted either because probably they don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about, especially when you convey your insult with a friendly amiable tone of voice.

How would you react if someone called you a flibbertigibbet, a foozle, a gammerstang, a grobian, a knuckylbonyard, a lollard, a lotterel, a mafflard, a shot-clog or a slubberdegullion? Don't these insults sound cute? It's up to you, what do you think?

Do you want to know what these insults mean? Read more about this at:


  • NazerkeNazerke Posts: 80 Inactive
    Now that I know means of all this insult word. So if someone insulted me, to be honest, I'd take umbrage. Interestingly, a lot of words google translate couldn't translate it.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,774 ✭✭✭✭
    My father used to use the insult 'flibbertigibbet' @Frank and might even have called my sister this. Thankfully he never directed this insult at me!
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,645 mod
    It doesn't matter as long as you don't know what it means and it's spoken with a cute smile and a soft and tender voice. Then 'flibbertigibbet' could even sound as a compliment @mheredge. You surely could say to a small child something like: 'My lovely dear little 'flibbertigibbet' what have you done now [smile, smile, kiss, kiss]...' Doesn't that sound cute if you skip the original meaning?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,774 ✭✭✭✭
    It never sounded harsh @Frank. But then again, I think we were probably too young to understand what it meant.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    I always find it interesting to see how words have changed over the years. Some historical insults actually sound really funny now!
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    I heard the word 'shot-clog' in few TV series. Rest of them are new for me. :)
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,774 ✭✭✭✭
    Shot-clog? What does this mean @Bubbly? I've never heard this before.
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge neither do I before I watched 'Suits'. :)
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,774 ✭✭✭✭
    What does it mean @Bubbly?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,774 ✭✭✭✭
    Obsolete slang! Maybe the phrase is making a come back then @Bubbly.
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge may be in AmE. :) We come across many words in the old movies or TV series that seem new to us but they are obsolete. I wonder why people stopped using them.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,774 ✭✭✭✭
    If you have only ever heard it in Suits, then I'm not sure it is necessarily in common usage @Bubbly.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Frank, you have forgotten my favourite 'coxcomb'. ;)
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, @Lynne knows very well that I am a flibbertigibbet. ;)
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,645 mod
    edited October 2016
    Hmm, a conceited, foolish dandy; pretentious fop. Forgotten...? I guess so @Xantippe. I'm sorry!
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @Xanthippe I am sure you are familiar with many obsolete words as you are familiar with Latin. I intend not to focus on obsolete words, otherwise I will be gobbledegook.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016
    @Bubbly, you could be the fiend's arch-mock if you used obsolete words. ;) Why not?
    Post edited by Xanthippe on
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @Xanthippe now I am thinking....! :/
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @Xanthippe this is a historical insult of Othello. You can use any word for it from the list mentioned above. ;)

    Dost thou hear, Iago?
    I will be found most cunning in my patience,
    But – dost thou hear? – most bloody.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,774 ✭✭✭✭
    @Bubbly you can't be gobbledigook, but you can certainly speak it! It means gibberish (so you can't be gibberish, even if you speak it). It is also the same of a song which to me, sounds a bit like gobbledigook too.

  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I cannot be till I read something that is pretty gobbledygook to me!:)
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Bubbly, you already speak Bubblish. ;) And it is even more obscure than the kangaroo's soul. :D
  • BubblyBubbly Posts: 29,890 ✭✭✭✭
    @Xanthippe the only issue is that Bubblish language is also a gobbledygook sometimes! ;)
This discussion has been closed.