So you think you know a foul word or two? Along with writing some of most famous quotes in literature, Shakespeare’s insults, put-downs, and cussing were second to none, and with his insults, Shakespeare was most certainly a master of his trade. From “A most notable coward” to “Villain, I have done thy mother” Shakespeare had an insult for any occasion.

Read our selection of the 50 most creative, foul-mouthed Shakespeare below, ordered alphabetically by quote, with play and act & scene listed.

Top 50 Shakespeare Insults:

1. “A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.”

All’s Well That Ends Well (Act 3, Scene 6)

2. “Away, you starvelling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish!”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4)

3. “Away, you three-inch fool! “

The Taming of the Shrew (Act 4, Scene 1)

4. “Come, come, you froward and unable worms!”

The Taming Of The Shrew (Act 5, Scene 2)

5. “Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, Thou lily-liver’d boy.”

Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 3) Read more quotes from Macbeth

6. “His wit’s as thick as a Tewkesbury mustard.”

Henry IV Part 2 (Act 2, Scene 4)

7. “I am pigeon-liver’d and lack gall.”

Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2) Read more Hamlet quotes, or our indepth analysis of ‘To be or not to be’

8. “I am sick when I do look on thee “

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 2, Scene 1)

9. “I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can, you are not for all markets.”

As You Like It (Act 3 Scene 5)

10. “If thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them.”

Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 1)

11. “I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands.”

Timon of Athens (Act 4, Scene 3)

12. “I scorn you, scurvy companion. “

Henry IV Part II (Act 2, Scene 4)

13. “Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.”

All’s Well That Ends Well (Act 2, Scene 3)

14. “More of your conversation would infect my brain.”

Coriolanus (Act 2, Scene 1)

15. “My wife’s a hobby horse!”

The Winter’s Tale (Act 2, Scene 1)

16. “Peace, ye fat guts!”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 2)

17. “Poisonous bunch-backed toad! “

Richard III (Act 1, Scene 3)

18. “The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril”

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Act 3, Scene 5)

19. “The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.”

The Comedy of Errors (Act 5, Scene 4)

20. “There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 3, Scene 3)

21. “Thine forward voice, now, is to speak well of thine friend; thine backward voice is to utter foul speeches and to detract.”

The Tempest (Act 2, Scene 2)

22. “That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4)

23. “Thine face is not worth sunburning.”

Henry V (Act 5, Scene 2)

24. “This woman’s an easy glove, my lord, she goes off and on at pleasure.”

All’s Well That Ends Well (Act 5, Scene 3)

25. “Thou art a boil, a plague sore”

King Lear (Act 2, Scene 2)

26. “Was the Duke a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward?”

Measure For Measure (Act 5, Scene 1)

27. “Thou art as fat as butter.”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4)

28. “Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad.”

Titus Andronicus (Act 4, Scene 3)

29. “Like the toad; ugly and venomous.”

As You Like It (Act 2, Scene 1`)

30. “Thou art unfit for any place but hell.”

Richard III (Act 1 Scene 2)

31. “Thou cream faced loon”

Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 3)

32. “Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4 )

33. “Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat.”

Henry V (Act 4, Scene 4)

34. “Thou elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog!”

Richard III (Act 1, Scene 3 )

35. “Thou leathern-jerkin, crystal-button, knot-pated, agatering, puke-stocking, caddis-garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish pouch!”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4)

36. “Thou lump of foul deformity”

Richard III (Act 1, Scene 2)

37. “That poisonous bunch-back’d toad!”

Richard III (Act 1, Scene 3)

38. “Thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows “

Troilus and Cressida (Act 2, Scene 1)

39. “Thou subtle, perjur’d, false, disloyal man!”

The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act 4, Scene 2)

40. “Thou whoreson zed , thou unnecessary letter!”

King Lear (Act 2, Scene 2 )

41. “Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.”

Measure For Measure (Act 3, Scene 1)

42. “Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.”

Cymbeline (Act 3, Scene 4)

43. “Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon”

Timon of Athens (Act 4, Scene 3)

44. “Would thou wouldst burst!”

Timon of Athens (Act 4, Scene 3)

45. “You poor, base, rascally, cheating lack-linen mate! “

Henry IV Part II (Act 2, Scene 4)

46. “You are as a candle, the better burnt out.”

Henry IV Part 2 (Act 1, Scene 2)

47. “You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!”

Henry IV Part 2 (Act 2, Scene 1)

48. “You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!”

Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4)

49. “Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.”

As You Like It (Act 2, Scene 7)

50. “Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.”

All’s Well That Ends Well (Act 1, Scene 1)

51. “Villain, I have done thy mother”

Titus Andronicus (Act 4, Scene 2)

Shakespeare Insult Generator:

Got the hang of Shakespeare insults and want to try your own? Have a go using the chart below. Simply combine one word from each of the three text columns below, and prefix with a “Thou”. Can you create the perfect insult for Lady Macbeth to deliver?

Shakespeare Insults 1

Shakespeare Insult Infographic:

This stunning Shakespeare insult chart was put together by Charley Chartwell.  It charts 100 of Shakespeare’s greatest zingers, sorted by topic, with each insult labelled with the Shakespeare play it comes from.

Shakespeare Insults 2

Shakespeare insult infographic from Charley Chartwell

And that’s your lot from our Shakespeare insults page. What are your favourite Shakespeare insults? Let us know in the comments section below!

Read enough Shakesperean insults? Check out our lists of words and phrases that Shakespeare invented & some interesting facts about Shakespeare.

123 replies
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  1. Max
    Max says:

    All of my alarms are like this: wake up You poor, base, rascally, cheating lack-linen mate‘

    Ah the comforts of Shakespearean insults to wake up to.

  2. Linda Green
    Linda Green says:

    wow. I am hoping to get an insult throwing party to replace our usual music playing together . Let you know how it goes.

  3. Monty the Bot
    Monty the Bot says:

    Maybe it’s been said here already or I could be completely wrong and am just a “Three-inch fool” however could someone tell the “heedless jolt-head” that put this list together that there is no Act 3 Scene 3 in The Taming of the Shrew.

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