It is time, once again, for lovers of classic English literature to dust off their copies of Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth and celebrate the literary genius that was William Shakespeare.

Every year, 23 April marks the birth and death of the Bard with celebrations honouring his vast collection of plays and poetry.

While this Sunday also happens to be St George's Day, World Book Day and World English Day, many also opt to celebrate Talk Like Shakespeare Day in recognition of some of the Bard's wittiest phrases.

In most polite circles, insults are considered uncouth, but they do possess a more dignified ring to them when said in Early Modern English, the language of Shakespeare.

So why not skip the cruder Fs and Bs for plague sores, caddis-garters, and more of Will's elegant slurs?

IBTimes UK lists some Shakespearean insults to celebrate this day in case you should meet a heedless jolthead or two.

All's Well That Ends Well

"Scurvy, old, filthy, scurry lord."

"Methink thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe themselves upon you."

"Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine drunk, and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedclothes about him."

"This woman's an easy glove, my lord, she goes off and on at pleasure.

As You Like It

"Like the toad, ugly and venomous."

"Let's meet as little as we can."

"His kisses are Judas's own children."

Comedy Of Errors

"She's the kitchen wench, and all grease ; and I know not what use to put her but to make a lamp of her and run her from her own light. I warrant, her rags and the tallow in them will burn a Poland winter. If she lives till doomsday, she'll burn a week longer than the whole world."

"No longer from head to foot than from hip to hip, she is spherical, like a globe, I could find out countries in her."

William Shakespeare
A general view of the grave of William Shakespeare at the Holy Trinity Church Getty Images


"What's the matter you dissentious rogue that, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, make yourselves scabs?"

"Boils and plagues plaster you over, that you may be abhorred farther than seen and one infect another against the wind a mile. You souls of geese that bear the shapes of men."

"More of your conversation would infect my brain."

"The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes, when he walks he moves like an engine and the ground shrinks before his treading."


"Away! Thou art poison to my blood."

"This Cloten was a fool, an empty purse, there was no money in it. Not Hercules could have knocked out his brains for he had none."


"He is open to incontinency. A foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man!"

"Live in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, strewed in corruption, honeying and making love over a nasty sty."

Henry IV – Parts 1 and 2

"We leak in your chimney and your chamber lye breeds fleas like a loach."

"Out, you mad headed ape. A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with."

"Why, thou clay brained guts, thou knotty pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow catch."

"You are as a candle, the better part burnt out."

"Hang yourself, you muddy conger."

"His wit's as thick as a Tewkesbury mustard."

"Thou damned tripe visaged rascal."

Henry V

"Thou cruel, ingrateful, savage and inhuman creature."

Henry VI

"O, were mine eye bans into bullets turned, that in a rage I might shoot them at your faces."

"You, that are polluted with your lusts, stained with the guiltless blood of innocents, corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices."

"Base dunghill villain and mechanical, I'll have thy head."

"Contemptuous base born callet."

"His breath stinks with eating toasted cheese."

"Farewell, sour annoy."

Henry VIII

"This butcher's cur is venom mouthed."

"I abhor this dilatory sloth."

King John

"What cracker is this same that deafs our ears with this abundance of superfluous breath."

"Thou odoriferous stench, sound rottenness."

"Out, dunghill."

King Lear

"What a brazen faced varlet art thou."

"You whoreson cullionly barbermonger."

"Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood."

"False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand, hog in sloth, fox in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey."

"This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet."

Love's Labour Lost

"A whitely wanton with a velvet brow, with two pitch balls stuck in her face for eyes."

"Pernicious and indubitate beggar."

"A most pathetical nit."

"Thou halfpenny purse of wit, thou pigeon egg of discretion."


"You should be women and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so."

"You secret, black and midnight hags."

"You egg, you fry of treachery."

"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Measure For Measure

"Your bum is the greatest thing about you, so that, in the beastliest sense, you are Pomey the Great."

"It is certain that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice."

The Merchant Of Venice

"A villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart."

"A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch, uncapable of pity, void and empty from any dram of mercy."

"Soft and dull eyed fool."

Merry Wives of Windsor

"You Banbury cheese."

"O base hungarian wight."

"King Urinal."

"Out of my door, you witch, you hag, you baggage, you polecat, you ronyon!"

A Midsummer Night's Dream

"What hempen homespun have we swaggering here."

Much Ado About Nothing

"Four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one."

"Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops!"

"You have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness."


"Damn her, lewd minx."

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

"The pox upon her green sickness."

"Thou art like the harpy, which, to betray, dost with thine angels face, seize with thine eagle's talons."

"The food is such as hath been belched on by infected lungs."

Richard III

"Thou lump of foul deformity."
"Out of my sight, thou dost infect mine eyes."
"Poisonous bunch backed toad."
"Wretched, bloody and usurping boar."

Romeo And Juliet

"Why he's a man of wax."

"The very butcher of silk button."

"Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat."

"You ratcatcher."

"Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death."

The Taming of the Shrew

"There's small choice in rotten apples."

"Away, you three inch fool."

"You heedless joltheads and unmannered slaves."

The Tempest

"Hang cur, hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker."

"Toads, beetles, bats, light on you."

Timon of Athens

"Thou disease of a friend."

Troilus and Cressida

"Though stool for a witch."

"Why, this have not a fingers decency."

"Thou crusty batch of nature."

"He has not so much brain as ear wax."

"You ruinious butt, you whoreson indistinguishable cur."

Twelfth Night

"What a caterwauling do you keep here."

"A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell."

"Leave thy vain bibble-babble."

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

"You, minion, are too saucy."

"She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults."

The Winter's Tale

"My wife's a hobby horse."

"I hate thee, pronounce thee a gross lout, a mindless slave."