CALL FOR CURSES.

Almost a year ago I announced the publication of the U.K. edition of the book of curses and insults I coauthored, Uglier Than a Monkey’s Armpit; next year the U.S. edition should be coming out, and the publisher has asked me to make some changes to the section on American English. Specifically, the Dr. Dre line I was so fond of has to go because quoting song lyrics is a problem, but they also feel the selection is a little lackluster in general, and I have to agree. The thing is, when I signed on to the original project, I wasn’t given much time to provide a whole bunch of material, so I was pretty much grabbing at whatever I could turn up, and I was disappointed in my U.S. section. I know my native country has been a world leader in invective and cursing, and I want better evidence! So if you know of a good, punchy line from a story, novel, or other nonmusical item that shows off the vulgar inventiveness of these United States, or a word that arose here (besides pissant, which is already included), please add a comment or drop me a line. If it winds up in the book, you may wind up in the acknowledgments! (Needless to say, if you own the U.K. or Australian edition and have noticed errors, by all means mention those.)
The entries that could stand to be replaced (besides the Dr. Dre line) are the fairly boring ones I’ve reproduced below the cut.


silk stockings
This term, at the end of the eighteenth century simply a reference to the well-to-do in the brand-new United States, a century later had insulting overtones. It had plenty of company: the upper crust (a term used from the 1830s on) were also called fancy-pants, high-hats, Mr Moneybags (or Gotrocks), snoots, stuffed shirts, and (in New York City, where their natural habitat was Fifth Avenue) Avenoodles (a term used by Walt Whitman in 1856 and still in use in 1900).
Hell’s Kitchen
This vivid term for what in the late 1850s was a mixed black and Irish slum on the west side of Manhattan is still in use, though real estate values in the neighborhood have risen considerably (and realtors are trying to persuade people not to call it that). Other unsavory neighborhood names (no longer in use) listed in Irving Lewis Allen’s comprehensive The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech are Misery Row, Bandit’s Roost, and Mixed-Ale Flats.

Comments

  1. There is a certain poetic daftness to describing something as “Ugly as the lid off a can of f&#k”, as if there was some sort of commoditized version of vulgar disgust. Really only heard that from military types, where swearing takes on such additional intensity.
    Hope that helps.

  2. If you have a Mencken 4th ed. (I did a Nero Wolfe on my 5th ed. when I saw what McDavid had done to it), there’s a lot of stuff in there (the online 2nd ed. at bartleby.com is pretty sparse). I remember with particular reverence his complaint that son of a bitch is a particularly feeble expletive: “in standard Italian there are no less than forty congeners of [it], and in the Neapolitan dialect there are thousands.”

  3. I don’t know where it originated, but the insult “asshat” has been gaining in popularity on forums. Although I’ve heard it here in Ireland, I suspect it’s American in origin because it’s “ass” rather than “arse”.
    In Texas, where I grew up, “_ on a soda cracker” was a common pattern. A person could be as ugly as “death on a soda cracker” or even “abortion on a soda cracker”. (ugh!) I suspect that’s American in origin because the term “soda cracker” is rarely used in Ireland and the UK.

  4. Your publisher’s attitude to song lyrics makes little sense. There’s no difference, from a copyright-law perspective, between a song lyric and a book or poem — if excerpting from a book is fair use (and it is) then so is excerpting from a song lyric (and, conversely, if excerpting from lyrics is not fair use, then neither is excerpting from a book).
    Get some legal counsel. Consult with the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Creative Commons, and if they can’t help you, they can refer you to a media lawyer who will. There’s simply no reason to shy away from quoting song lyrics in your book — it’s canonical fair use.

  5. Well, there is Napoleon’s famous description of Talleyrand as “shit in a silk stocking”.

  6. David Marjanović says:

    On a blog I frequently comment on, some people use the Shakespeare Insult Generator when “asshat” becomes too boring.

  7. A.J.P. Crown says:

    This is my opportunity to remind everyone that Delacroix was the illegitimate son of Tallyrand. I’m sorry to use Wiki to back this up, but it is pretty well established.

  8. John Emerson says:

    Asshat, moonbat, fucktard, and idiotarian are used interchangably.
    Nobody else shares my appreciation of the phrase “gay voodoo limbo tango and wango dance”.
    These expressions all come from unpleasant persons.

  9. John Emerson says:

    Asshat, moonbat, fucktard, and idiotarian are used interchangably.
    Nobody else shares my appreciation of the phrase “gay voodoo limbo tango and wango dance”.
    These expressions all come from unpleasant persons.

  10. Loquacious lives up to his name.
    “Fuckchutney” is not widely attested.

  11. Okay, I’ve got one I doubt is in your book. The context is 1950s rural upper Midwest, specifically Iowa. This was a favorite of my mother and her brothers: “Chicken? Shit, I had that at your house last night.”
    This is used as a milder substitute for “chickenshit.” For example:
    Teen A: Hey, let’s go up to Red Rock Dam and pitch rocks at birds!
    Teen B: I don’t know. Isn’t that trespassing? We could get in trouble.
    Teen A: Chicken? Shit, I had that at your house last night.
    Unfortunately, I can’t provide a cite, except that my Mom and my Uncles would say that to each other every time they got to reminiscing. Google doesn’t recognize the whole phrase in quotes (with either “chicken shit” or “chickenshit”), and without quotes there are too many false positives to dig through.

  12. I’m sure it’s not widespread, since I invented it, but you’re welcome to use it at anytime.
    “all your mother’s husbands were impotent”.
    The chief pride of which is how economical it is–insulting the victim’s mother, father, possible stepfathers, siblings and of course the victim himself all in one fell swoop.

  13. “picklesniffer”
    A guy I was dating in the Boston area uses that one. Never heard it anywhere else, but as this guy is convinced that everyone in the world is calling him “faggot” as they see him drive by, it cracked me up.

  14. Sarah Silverman is quite fond of “douche nozzle”.

  15. rootlesscosmo says:

    The late Danny McGoorty, three-cushion billiards player and raconteur, said (in his memoir, “McGoorty,” written with Robert Byrne) that someone had “a complexion like a fart through a keg of nails.” I can dig out the exact citation if you want it for the book.

  16. I’m still waiting for the version with the SD introduction to become available in Japan, so I don’t know if these are already in there, but…
    How about “douchebag”? I’ve always thought of it as a distinctly USAian insult all bound up with puritan shame in re natural bodily functions, marketing of unnecessary “health” items, etc. (And as Lazar says it is the root of a whole family of related insults.)
    Also, is “beaten with the ugly stick” from the US? Because it sounds like it is, and I’ve always loved variations on that one.
    (This is where citations from the OED etc. prove that I am wrong and these are both actually calques from medieval French or something.)

  17. komfo,amonan says:

    Perhaps I’m missing John Emerson’s subtlety, but AFAIK “moonbat” is used specifically for members of the far left, “idiotarian” also has a specifically political connotation, & “asshat” & “fucktard” are used more generally.

  18. a specifically political connotation
    What kind of curses and insults are people interested in? If it’s LH I would expect something esoteric with the underlying naughtiness buried in a scholarly tone. It also seems to me there is a different kind of cursing vocabulary depending on whether it is political, if so which flavor, or if it’s written or spoken. Also there are factors of generation and region.
    For instance I use to hear “Hell’s bells” in the midwest by someone now in their 80′s whose favorite curse was “goddam”. It was an insipid curse to begin with, but when repeated by boomers sounds like an unsuccessful attempt to mimic someone else’s slang.
    A lot of written internet slang like the stuff found in Urban Dictionary I doubt would ever be spoken out loud.
    For political flavors, the blogs whose feeds I have followed this week have included the following insults: morans/retards/douchebag/you fucking piece of stupid shit/YOU REPUBLICAN LAPTOP/dumbass (all from a pro-Obama blog); Fitzmas/* DIC: Dude in Charge (hard “c,” natch)/fluffer/morning spit take/under the influence of the Koolaid/craphead (anti-Obama site); and the more generic “grow a pair/spine(post-Pelosi?)/brain”, as well as the old insult “maroons” for morons (to mock spelling errors). At some of the larger sites it is nearly impossible to follow the comments as they try to encode so many talking points by reworking words (Repukes for Republicans) or using code names for other blogs and bloggers (Freepers for Free Republic, Cheetos for DailyKos). Trying to keep up with the latest talking point insult is like trying to jump on a train that is leaving the station.

  19. Ted Dunning says:

    ‘He is lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut’ is a not uncommon epithet in east Texas.
    My father used to exclaim that certain people’s had “breath bad enough to scare a cat off a gut wagon”.

  20. Your publisher’s attitude to song lyrics makes little sense. There’s no difference, from a copyright-law perspective, between a song lyric and a book or poem — if excerpting from a book is fair use (and it is) then so is excerpting from a song lyric (and, conversely, if excerpting from lyrics is not fair use, then neither is excerpting from a book).
    Whether it makes sense or not is irrelevant; it’s the way it is. It’s not just my publisher, it’s a standard attitude across the industry. In order to quote even one line of a song lyric, you need to get permission: check out the copyright page of any novel you have lying around that quotes pop music. “You don’t need a weatherman” used by permission of blah blah blah. The music industry is far more lawyered up than any of us could dream of being.
    Asshat and douchebag are excellent. I can’t really use idiosyncratic ones used only by one family (though I do enjoy hearing about them), and I need citations for quotes. Thanks to all, and keep ‘em coming!

  21. Patrick R. says:

    Jesus-tapdancing-Christ!
    Pound sand (American military lingo for “fuck off”).
    Cockwaffle — general insult.

  22. Some favorite down-home southern/east-Texas ones that come to mind (I hail from Houston):
    - Jesus Christ on a stick! very blasphemous; general expression of surprise and disbelief. Also Jesus H. Christ, the H. presumably stands for Holy.
    - If I want any shit out of you I’ll squeeze your head. Used to subordinates.
    - When I want your opinion, I’ll give it too you. Also used on subordinates.
    - Shut up (or some other command) or I’ll rip/tear off your head and piss/crap down your neck! Apparently also used by the Duke Nukem video game.
    These are not necessarily limited to that region, that’s just where I learned them.
    I’m also partial to fucktard, though I never use it.
    Others that come to mind:
    - shit for brains, dumbass, dumbfuck
    - dumb as a box/bag of rocks/hammers (box and hammers being my preferred version)
    - needle dick or pencil dick.. always good to insult a guy’s manhood.
    And of course there are all the homophobic insults I heard growing up (Houston has a large gay population, though why a gay person would voluntarily live with so many rednecks I don’t know) like faggot, fudge packer, and others I’ve been more successful at repressing.
    Oh, and redneck of course, and hick or billy bob.
    My Dad tells stories of being in the Navy, where unsavory food was lovingly referred to as shit on a shingle.
    That’s all I got for now.

  23. “breath bad enough to scare a cat off a gut wagon”
    “breath bad enough to knock a buzzard off a shit wagon”

  24. shit on a shingle
    In South Dakota that was specifically chipped beef on toast, the aforementioned pink beef mystery meat sparsely mixed in a thick, glutinous white sauce, which in institutional settings is particularly horrific. They had “bully beef” too, but I understand the origin of that is British.

  25. Hawaiian muscle fuck. I don’t know how common it is, but it’s attested to in Sheidlower’s The F Word (under “muscle fuck”). I once heard it used in New Jersey back in 1980: “Hey, you want a Hawaiian muscle fuck?” shouted as an insult. It refers either to rubbing the penis between the breasts or intercourse with a woman who has done her kegel exercises.
    There is also the military standard clusterfuck, or charlie foxtrot.

  26. Cherie Woodworth says:

    Perhaps a little less vulgar, but memorable was a phrase I heard several times from my father’s side* (though not often): “slicker than snot on a doorknob.” I suppose this could refer to a person (“he’s slicker than s. on a dkn” — and thus be a personal insult. Or to a general condition (“the road out there is slicker…” etc.)
    *They hail from south eastern New Mexico, so there might be some SW/ Texas influence on this.

  27. the fairly boring ones I’ve reproduced below the cut

    One guess as to which word I misread – and how.
    “pissant” – that one is still /pi’sã/ in my head for some bizarre reason.

  28. Was making the rounds on the ‘net some time ago and I saved myself a copy :-)
    Mr. Spammer, you swine. You vulgar little maggot. You worthless bag of filth. As they say in Texas. I’ll bet you couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with instructions on the heel. You are a canker. A sore that won’t go away. I would rather kiss a lawyer than be seen with you.
    You’re a putrescent mass, a walking vomit. You are a spineless little worm deserving nothing but the profoundest contempt. You are a jerk, a cad, a weasel. Your life is a monument to stupidity. You are a stench, a revulsion, a big suck on a sour lemon.
    You are a bleating foal, a curdled staggering mutant dwarf smeared richly with the effluvia and offal accompanying your alleged birth into this world. An insensate, blinking calf, meaningful to nobody, abandoned by the puke-drooling, giggling beasts who sired you and then killed themselves in recognition of what they had done.
    I will never get over the embarrassment of belonging to the same species as you. You are a monster, an ogre, a malformity. I barf at the very thought of you. You have all the appeal of a paper cut. Lepers avoid you. You are vile, worthless, less than nothing. You are a weed, a fungus, the dregs of this earth. And did I mention you smell?
    Try to edit your responses of unnecessary material before attempting to impress us with your insight. The evidence that you are a nincompoop will still be available to readers, but they will be able to access it more rapidly.
    You snail-skulled little rabbit. Would that a hawk pick you up, drive its beak into your brain, and upon finding it rancid set you loose to fly briefly before spattering the ocean rocks with the frothy pink shame of your ignoble blood. May you choke on the queasy, convulsing nausea of your own trite, foolish beliefs.
    You are weary, stale, flat and unprofitable. You are grimy, squalid, nasty and profane. You are foul and disgusting. You’re a fool, an ignoramus. Monkeys look down on you. Even sheep won’t have sex with you. You are unreservedly pathetic, starved for attention, and lost in a land that reality forgot.
    And what meaning do you expect your delusionally self-important statements of unknowing, inexperienced opinion to have with us? What fantasy do you hold that you would believe that your tiny-fisted tantrums would have more weight than that of a leprous desert rat, spinning rabidly in a circle, waiting for the bite of the snake? You are a waste of flesh. You have no rhythm. You are ridiculous and obnoxious. You are the moral equivalent of a leech. You are a living emptiness, a meaningless void. You are sour and senile. You are a disease, you puerile one-handed slack-jawed drooling meatslapper.
    On a good day you’re a half-wit. You remind me of drool. You are deficient in all that lends character. You have the personality of wallpaper. You are dank and filthy. You are asinine and benighted. You are the source of all unpleasantness. You spread misery and sorrow wherever you go.
    You smarmy lagerlout git. You bloody woofter sod. Bugger off, pillock. You grotty wanking oik artless base-court apple-john. You clouted boggish foot-licking twit. You dankish clack-dish plonker. You gormless crook-pated tosser. You churlish boil-brained clotpole ponce. You cockered bum-bailey poofter. You craven dewberry pisshead cockup pratting naff. You gob-kissing gleeking flap-mouthed coxcomb. You dread-bolted fobbing beef-witted clapper-clawed flirt-gill.
    You are a fiend and a coward, and you have bad breath. You are degenerate, noxious and depraved. I feel debased just for knowing you exist. I despise everything about you, and I wish you would go away. I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Your writing has to be a troll. Nothing in our universe can really be this stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know. I’m sorry. I can’t go on. This is an epiphany of stupid for me. After this, you my not hear from me again for a while. I don’t have enough strength left to deride your ignorant questions and half baked comments about unimportant trivia, or any of the rest of this drivel. Duh.
    The only thing worse than your logic is your manners. Maybe later in life, after you have learned to read, write, spell, and count, you will have more success. True, these are rudimentary skills that many of us “normal” people take for granted that everyone has an easy time of mastering. But we sometimes forget that there are “challenged” persons in this world who find these things more difficult. If I had known, that this was your case then I would have never read your post. It just wouldn’t have been “right”. Sort of like parking in a handicap space. I wish you the best of luck in the emotional, and social struggles that seem to be placing such a demand on you.
    P.S.
    You are hypocritical, greedy, violent, malevolent, vengeful, cowardly, deadly, mendacious, meretricious, loathsome, despicable, belligerent, opportunistic, barratrous, contemptible, criminal, fascistic, bigoted, racist, sexist, avaricious, tasteless, idiotic, brain-damaged, imbecilic, insane, arrogant, deceitful, demented, lame, self-righteous, byzantine,conspiratorial, satanic, fraudulent, libelous, bilious, splenetic, spastic, ignorant, clueless, illegitimate, harmful, destructive, dumb, evasive, double-talking, devious, revisionist, narrow, manipulative, paternalistic, fundamentalist, dogmatic, idolatrous, unethical, cultic, diseased, suppressive, controlling, restrictive, malignant, deceptive, dim, crazy, weird, dystopic, stifling, uncaring, plantigrade, grim, unsympathetic, jargon-spouting, censorious, secretive, aggressive, mind-numbing, arassive, poisonous, flagrant, self-destructive, abusive, socially-retarded, puerile, clueless, and generally Not Good.
    In other words, go away.

  29. Doug Sundseth says:

    I have “slicker ‘n snot on a doorknob”, too, and there are quite a few Google references in quoted searches with various spellings. But I don’t think I’ve heard it used as an insult, even used about a person. For that matter, I’ve heard (and probably used) it as a term of approbation.

  30. Mencken 4th ed.
    Also maybe Supplement One, with sections on Euphemisms, Taboo Words, and Expletives.

  31. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I did a Nero Wolfe on my 5th ed.
    There is one google hit for this expression, namely the one above. What do you mean?

  32. A.J.P. Crown says:

    By the way, Language, can’t you or your publisher just ASK Dr Dre if you can borrow his phrase? I’m totally out of it and I don’t know who he is, but I’m sure he’d say yes, why wouldn’t he?

  33. “One taco short of a combo plate” and its derivatives, “one fry short of a Happy Meal” et al., must be American.

  34. “beaten with the ugly stick” from the US?
    Yep. It’s sepficially black originally.
    “Pound sand (American military lingo for “fuck off”).
    That’s originally a reference to doing something useless – artillery fire on bare ground or sand that isn’t killing anyone. I have seen it expanded to “Pound sand up your ass.”
    Drill Sergeant taunt:
    “Boy, did your momma have any children who lived?”
    “slicker ‘n snot on a doorknob”,
    Yeah, but that’s a compliment, not an insult.
    “”pissant” – that one is still /pi’sã/ in my head for some bizarre reason.”
    I love it!
    Non-military:
    “…and the whole roomful of us is now stupider for having listened to you.”
    Then there is the whole range of “Dozens” insults:
    You momma so country she use Lysol for deodorant.
    You momma so fat Greenpeace keep a boat at yo house.
    You momma so fat she walk like this: Arizona, Utah, Texas, Kentucky……..
    You momma so nasty the doorman is a roach.

  35. mollymooly says:

    My favorite “ugly” is “fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.” The metaphor that keeps on giving. Also snowclonable for other values of X besides ugly.
    PS Hat: Have you turned off your spam filters to preclude exclusion of some pearls? If so, can I interest you in some Cialis refinancing?

  36. slicker ‘n snot on a doorknob
    Slickness is good, yes. From a Minnesota classroom lecture: “Slicker than owl manure on a flat rock.” Something that “works fine, lasts a long time.”
    This favorite of our sophomore debate team is all over the web in various forms, don’t know if the origin is American: “I’d have a battle of wits with you, but I never fight an unarmed man.”
    Okay, I know Tolkien is a Brit, but when Bilbo Baggins gives his fiftieth birthday farewell party speech in The Hobbit, “I know less than half of you less than half as well as I should, and I like less than half of you less than half as well as you deserve.”
    Then there’s this from some political thread: “I am not certain whether your failure in this regard is a result of a congenitally weak intellect, habitual cognitive laziness, adherence to some ideology or another that stunts systematic thinking, or a willingness to misrepresent reality when it serves the needs of your current rhetorical project.”
    And, again not American, what about the Arabic coos ochtik, “your sister’s genitals”, similar to coosa a type of zucchini that is cored and stuffed with lamb and rice and simmered with a tomato sauce. (don’t know if this is in the book already, when I tried to order it there was something wrong with accessing my Amazon account, which is slowly working its way to the top of my to-do list.)
    “A few bricks short of a full load.” or just “a few bricks short”.
    “Not playing with a full deck.”

  37. Doug Sundseth says:

    To my uncle (a former rodeo cowboy and large-animal vet) and his crowd, “dude” is a serious insult (the corresponding term of approval is “hand”). The sense is that of “Dude Ranch”, implying general incapacity and cluelessness.
    “You see that Ernie trying to pitch hay?”
    “Well, what do expect from a dude?”

  38. The “so ugly/paper bag” series from the 80′s, “He’s so ugly you need three paper bags, one for his head, one for your head in case his falls off, and one for the light bulb in case they both fall off.”
    The “you know you’re a redneck when” series from the 90′s, “You know you’re a redneck when your living room has two TV’s stacked on top of each other and neither one of them works.” “You know you’re a redneck when you mow your lawn and find five abandoned cars.”

  39. How about the ___-ass construction? It’s a really productive one and I feel like it’s US in origin though I can’t exactly give documentation on that!
    In order of commonality, I think: “punk-ass bitch” (can be male or female), “broke-ass ___” (usually motherfucker or ho), “grown-ass woman/man”… of course there’s the slightly older “pansy-ass”, “candy-ass”, etc.

  40. Kári Tulinius says:

    A Butler: I don’t know where it originated, but the insult “asshat” has been gaining in popularity on forums.
    Morgan: How about the ___-ass construction?
    There are many variations on the ass- and -ass insult. Asshat is the best known of the ones that start out with ass (leading to the insult: you wear your ass as a hat) but there are many others: asspod, assturd, assmuncher, assfactor and so on. Ass used as a suffix is barely an insult anymore, more of an intensifier if anything. I most often hear it with random, random-ass, as in: that’s some random-ass citation you’ve got there. That said, punk-ass seems to be the most common one online.
    But one thing I’ve noticed about American insults is the free rearrangement of some stock words and parts of words into new insults. Douchetruck, which I first heard from a friend of mine a couple of years ago, is a pretty choice example. I love that feature of American cursing. I wrote a “formula for spewing invective on the internet” once. It can be seen here (scroll down).

  41. An American engineer described to me a medical graduate whom he was doing some research with: “He can’t tell shit from shite”.

  42. Ahh.. I haven’t heard piss ant in a long time. That’s a good one.
    slicker than shit — slick, smarmy, etc.
    queerer than a three dollar bill — probably originally meant “very odd”, but meant “gay” in an insulting way last I heard it.
    take a flying fuck at a rolling donut! — like fuck off.. Google says it was in two of Kurt Vonnegut’s books. Huh, fancy that.

  43. A term often used downunder for a pretentious person, especially someone who wears fancy clothes to show off, is “as flash as a rat with a gold tooth”.

  44. “He can’t tell shit from shite”
    That’s an old one, but I know it as “can’t tell shit from shinola”, whatever shinola is.

  45. the ___-ass construction
    jiveass (usually followed by the n-word)
    badass (which isn’t an insult, means something strong or effective “badass weed”)(Yes, I read the Child’s Garden of Grass.)

  46. Siganus Sutor says:

    Steve: please add a comment or drop me a line
    Sorry, I never swear, be it in American.

  47. Isn’t there a difference between swearing or insulting someone and talking aboutit?

  48. variation on beaten with an ugly stick – must have hit every branch on the ugly tree as they fell

  49. michael farris says:

    pinkeye (adj) : low class, trashy (nothing to do with eyes, the color pink or the illness known as pink eye, from one of Florence King’s ‘Southern Ladies and Gentlemen’) I’ve heard pinkeye in real life
    (no so for ‘fartless wonder’ and ‘Friday turd in a Saturday market’ two other great insults in the book)
    queerbait (noun) : combination of eccentric and loser (no necessary connection with homosexuality)
    snakebit (adj) : refers to a loser whose loserdom is contagious

  50. Shinola was an American brand of shoe polish.

  51. michael farris says:

    Also, there’s the classic
    “so stupid s/he couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with instructions written on the sole”
    lots of variations (boot/shoe/pot) (heel/sole/bottom)

  52. Siganus Sutor says:

    Not to be confused with a brand of Polish shoe — which might be a kind of swearword in the Middle East, who knows, given one of the roles a shoe can play (for example on Saddam’s face).
     
     
     
    Yes, Nijma, it’s just like talking about panties, isn’t it?

  53. Ha, ha, ha. Oops, sorry,

  54. Angiportus says:

    A few come to mind:
    “My dog walking backwards looks better than him walking forward.”
    “If I had a face like that I’d take my pants off and walk upside down!!”
    “Fucknugget” and “Caput Ricardus” (head + Richard)are current nouns.
    When amongst people who don’t appreciate my ability to cuss the spines off a cactus, I say “son of a landfill”. I can also, at will, refer to a situation as a “flustercluck”.
    If something works well it went “slicker’n snail snot”.
    Hope these help, or at least amuse.

  55. it’s just like talking about panties, isn’t it?
    No, it isn’t. You can only talk about panties with someone you can tutoyer, unless you hedge the discussion with meta language as I’m doing here, so they don’t get the idea you’re coming on to them. You can discuss insults with anyone.

  56. A.J.P. Crown, Esq. says:

    You can only talk about panties with someone you can tutoyer
    It was I who introduced the subject, with Sig. It is not a foregone conclusion that I tutoyer any of my imaginary associates.

  57. It is not a foregone conclusion that I tutoyer any of my imaginary associates.
    Ah, but Sig has already spilled the beans, we know all about you and Lady Sig. And we know you instigated that whole tuteando caper using the aforementioned lady’s lack of a formal form in her own language to start the whole snowball rolling. Which means that you and Sig, being now on a tu basis with each others’ entire families, might be on your own discussing the p-word now.
    But just because a language doesn’t have a grammatical tú/usted differentiation doesn’t mean the social differentiation doesn’t exist in the language. If you can’t get it from the grammar forms you have to pick up on it from context, like that first name business. So if you bring up the p-word with someone you aren’t on nos tuteamos basis, it’s like in the e e cummings poem, “voulez-vous coucher avec moi?”, which unless you’re a lady of the evening, works out to an insult.
    Which reminds me, “bitches and hos” was much used in this campaign cycle. “Hos” has to be a unique American insult. Sort of.

  58. I see that overnight I have now been insulted on an anti-Obama thread:
    ~”Nijima (sic), Have you been drinking koolaid or something?”
    ~”Perhaps when you really do “get that,” your opinions on Obama and Blago will be informed and your take on the situation will be more realistic.”
    ~”Maybe you need to do a little reading instead of pontificating…”
    More creative than the pro-Obama “hos” and “loserzzzz”, but ad hom‘s are always a bad sign.

  59. scarabaeus says:

    May be it be time to mention to those that know “to get instructions to do a biological impossibility”

  60. Sorry, Ms Nidge, you are confused. You’re mixing me up with some other imaginary person; I’ve never had the honour of meeting Mrs Sutor. If we all look the same to you, maybe you ought to start taking notes.

  61. Now, now. I’m not going to have to start knocking heads together again, am I? Here, everyone have a drink on the house and I’ll turn up the volume on America’s Funniest Pet Videos.

  62. John Emerson says:

    Drink Hat’s nice koolaid, folks. It will quiet you down wonderfully.

  63. John Emerson says:

    Drink Hat’s nice koolaid, folks. It will quiet you down wonderfully.

  64. Oh no, man. Not the pet videos. Please. Anything but the pet videos.

  65. Oh, no, Hat, it was my mistake. It was on the now mystical Hungarian You thread at December 7, 2008 01:06 AM–I just didn’t read it right. It’s still a great story, but I liked it a lot better when I thought it was about Kron. I’ll take that drink though, now that the semester is officially over–which means someone else will have to be the designated blogger. But please, please, pleeeeeez don’t imbed any pet videos.

  66. Doug Sundseth says:

    “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.”
    “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”
    “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”
    I think those are all typically American, but that might be my myopia speaking.

  67. “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”
    I haven’t heard that one for nearly fifty years. In England it was popular among some school kids (mostly girls).

  68. For those who follow the First Family’s pets, the White House has now release a 4-minute Barney Cam video at:
    http://www.cnn(DOT)com/video/#/video/politics/2008/12/15/vo.wh.barneycam.cnn

    Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: cnn (dot) com

    Sorry, it won’t let me make a link; that sp@m filter must really hate pet videos.

  69. Per Jørgensen says:

    “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
    You really are a heel.
    You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
    You’re as charming as an eel.
    Mr. Grinch.
    You’re a bad banana
    With a greasy black peel.
    You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch.
    Your heart’s an empty hole.
    Your brain is full of spiders,
    You’ve got garlic in your soul.
    Mr. Grinch.
    I wouldn’t touch you, with a
    thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.
    You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch.
    You have termites in your smile.
    You have all the tender sweetness
    Of a seasick crocodile.
    Mr. Grinch.
    Given the choice between the two of you
    I’d take the seasick crockodile.
    You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch.
    You’re a nasty, wasty skunk.
    Your heart is full of unwashed socks
    Your soul is full of gunk.
    Mr. Grinch.
    The three words that best describe you,
    are, and I quote: “Stink. Stank. Stunk.”
    You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch.
    You’re the king of sinful sots.
    Your heart’s a dead tomato splot
    With moldy purple spots,
    Mr. Grinch.
    Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing
    with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable
    rubbish imaginable,
    Mangled up in tangled up knots.
    You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch.
    With a nauseaus super-naus.
    You’re a crooked jerky jockey
    And you drive a crooked horse.
    Mr. Grinch.
    You’re a three decker saurkraut and toadstool
    sandwich
    With arsenic sauce.”
    What a goatfuck!

  70. Per Jørgensen says:

    Oh, and don’t forget dipshit.

  71. Don’t imagine that goats can’t hit back just because they’re vegetarians. They have very long memories, too.

  72. Speaking of which …
    Have you ever posted pictures of your cats, mr Hat? I’m pretty sure the sole purpose of blogging is to post pictures of one’s cats.

  73. I have not. I don’t want their heads to get any more swelled than they are already.

  74. Currently I wouldn’t mind if Dummkatz’ head swelled a bit. It’s really gotten disproportionately small.

  75. Siganus Sutor says:

    Bibi: given one of the roles a shoe can play (for example on Saddam’s face)
    Not only on Saddam’s face:

    Bush shoe-ing worst Arab insult
     
    Zaidi’s attack was launched with the words “this is a farewell kiss, you dog”
     
    Around the Arab world, if you want to escalate a situation, by saying for example “I’m going to thump you”, add the words “with a shoe” and you’re adding serious insult to the threat of possible injury.

    (BBC website)

  76. Maybe this type of hamman arabi is the reason. This is by far not the most unappetizing example. This might also be the reason why you take your shoes off and leave them just inside the door as soon as you enter a house. In an Arab homes there will also be a pair of plastic shoes outside the bathroom door you slip on before going inside–those places are wet.
    In my experience the big Arab freakout isn’t the bottom of the shoe–it’s the word “dog”.

  77. In New York, the dogs wear shoes in winter to stop their feet getting injured from the salt on the pavements. If Bush ever goes back to the UN, the Arabs can throw dog shoes at him.

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