Thursday, 11 October 2018

17th Century Insults. A Beginners Guide. Part 1

So your caught up in a 17th century dust up. I mean it could happen to anyone…right? 

Sure, your okay with your thrust and your parry, comfortable with the workings of your dog lock pistol…but let's be honest for a second here, just how good are you with the barbed one liners?

I mean, yes you'll look cool as you snip the buttons off your opponent's doublet with the tip of your Hounslow hanger…but if you really want to impress the tavern / market place / castle courtyard bystanders you'll need to make the bugger look like a witless lumpen bumshankle while you do it.

Thankfully help is at hand. Here's a list of genuine 17th Century insults rude words and phrases you can use to slap 'em down as you cut 'em up.

Simply shout "zwounds sirrah you…" then combine nouns 1- 10 with the adjectives A - J, as you see fit. Don't forget to finish with a sardonic twirl of the moustache a manic laugh and a hearty slap of the thigh.

A. Auguless - puffed up or overly proud.

B. Cague Pawed - left handed.

C. Jugbitten - drunken

D. Roynish - scabby and base

E. Giddy - frivolous and stupid

F. Naughty - wicked

G. Salty - lecherous

H. Hard favoured - ugly

I. Meal'd - stained or spotted

J. Motley minded - foolish

1. Bellshangle - a buffoon

2. Bratchett - a small barking dog

3. Quakebreach - a coward

4. Mumblecrust - a toothless idiot

5. Claybrained clodpoll -  dumb as a rock

6. Spavined nag - a decrepit old horse

7. Whey faced poltroon - White faced coward

8. Coxcomb - well dressed and overly self regarding

9. Dandypratt - a well dressed fool

10. Caitiff -- a wretch or villain

There you go. See how I've managed to combine a vanity project blog with a pinch of genuine education. Who says learning can't be fun. I think I'll call it  'blogucation'.


  1. These are great! I will save a few of these to toss at an opponent next time the ECW figures take to the field.

  2. 'twould be a right pleasure to cross swords with you sir, even if you be a jugbitten mumblecrust!

    1. Yeah like it! Hold on for a second while I just swing from this chandelier and kick over a tavern bench or two.


      Ahah! Go shake your ears you hard favored clodpoll.

    2. Oh bugger, I forgot to twirl my moustache.

  3. These are good - like it a lot. I'm interested in "cague pawed" - when I was a kid in Liverpool, they used to say "cack handed" which meant either clumsy or left-handed, according to context, which I always thought was a bit harsh on left handed people. I discussed this once with a learned (drunk) friend of mine, and he said that it really meant left-handed, but since left-handers traditionally had problems with right-handed activities like firing weapons, or learning to write, the meaning had become blurred in common parlance. Whatever.

    I had a squint in one of these ludicrous know-all online urban dictionaries, and it explained that this was a reference to societies in which one hand is for eating and the other is for - well - wiping one's bottom. This just goes to show what you get when you sit morons down with the internet - the results are cack.

    I've always been interested in slang terms, and the etymology thereof - and particularly in the origins and political references in children's songs - skipping rhymes, etc. In passing, Lowland Scots term for left-handed is "corrie-dukit" or "corrie-haundit" - dukes being hands or fists, as in "put yer dukes up", a challenge to fight. Enough of this...

    1. Hi Tony, in the midlands the term was caggy handed...and it was always applied to those that were clumsy when handling things - not specifically left handlers (though I have also head of cack handed). Strangely it was only as I was typing these out the other night that I made the (potential) connection between cague and caggy. As a by the bye my interest in language has seen me go to the ludicrous lengths of learning to speak basic olde English - (re enacted that period with Regia Anglorum for 8 years). Given that the number of people versed in it runs to about 10 country wide it was never a very useful skill to have mind you. Lol. Interesting to learn the derivation of "put your dukes up" Another one that I've heard and no doubt used but never questioned.

    2. I promise not to keep this going, but I was interested enough to do a little more poking about, and it seems that everyone except me knew that "dukes" (meaning "hands") is rhyming slang [Duke of Yorks] for "forks" - this also being an old term for hands, hands being forked parts of the body. A lot of people believe that rhyming slang is exclusively a London tradition, by the way - not so - very strong tradition in Glasgow, for example, though in Scotland "the dukes" would normally be interpreted as "Duke of Argylls" [haemorrhoids...]. Again, in passing, it interests me that the only example of rhyming slang which made it to America is "raspberry" ("raspberry tart").

      That's quite enough of that digression. As I say, this stuff fascinates me.

  4. Very nice - bookmarked for future reference.

  5. great stuff, liked it a lot. just a question though for non-british: how would you pronounce 'auguless'?

    1. Hi Martin, working from memory it's phoenetically pronounced AWG OR LESS. Sadly, I've no idea of it's original derivation.

      ThIs post seems to have excited quite a bit of attention for a throw away filler. Might have to do part two in a week or so.