There was a time when people put thought into their words. Even the biggest imbecile during Civil War times would sound like a poet next to 90% of the American population these days. Nowhere is that more evident than in the insults we choose to hurl at each other. These days, everyone is a “douche” or some other lame attempt at being insulting. But it wasn’t always this way.
Here are eight old-timey insults that need to make a comeback. Part two!
Definition: Noun. “A superior whore.”
Actual example: “A toffer-shop.” -The English Dialect Society, 1876
Taken from: “Toff,” British slang word for a showy upperclassman. In short, a fop.
Why it still works: We have so many words for whores, but very few words for alpha-whores. We’re talking top-of-the-line here. The Porsche of prostitutes. Somewhere out there the single best prostitute on the planet is peddling her—or his—ware better than any of their competitors, and they deserve to be separated from the chaff so that we can celebrate them for who and what they are: captains of industry.
Definition: Noun. “A woman’s privities: because frequently felt.”
Actual example: We’re guessing Bill the Butcher used this at least once in Gangs of New York.
Taken from: A genius. Also, it is worth mentioning that “Old hat” is derived from this as well, so think about that next time your grandma uses that term to describe something.
Why it still works: Because you’re basically accusing a woman’s sex-organs of being a slut: It’s not the person you’re insulting, it’s their [frequently felt] hat. The result is a double-insult every bit as brilliant today as it was in Christmas past.
Definition: Noun. “One whose scrotum is so relaxed as to be longer than his penis, ie whose shot pouch is longer that the barrel of his piece.”
Actual example: “The Rantallion. Won by a neck, half a length between the second and third.” – THE RACING CALENDAR, FOR THE YEAR 1866, 1866
Taken from: Honestly, we don’t know. Our definition was taken from Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, and that’s all we have to work with. Best guess: it was one of those precious, rare examples of some meaningless word invented on the spot that for some unknown reason sounded exactly like what it means.
Why it still works: Hey, if you can think up a better way to describe that timeless image, we’re all ears. Until then, Francis Grose has the floor, as does someone’s scrotum from the sound of it.
Definition: Noun. A person whose underwear can be seen through a hole in their pants.
Actual example: Right here…
Taken from: According to Francis Grose, this little gem originated “from the old philosophers, many of whom despised the vanity of dress to such a point, as often to fall into the opposite extreme.” Make a note of this for all of you interested in pursuing Philosophy for your undergrad. Not only does it not pay all that much, it apparently never has.
Why it still works: Because some people just don’t know when it is time to buy a new pair of pants, and whoever is walking behind them is usually the first to notice. Well, apparently this has been going on for quite a while.
Definition: Noun. “A large, masculine, overgrown wench.”
Actual example: “From the luscious Tit-bit to the bouncing Jack-whore/ From the Bunter in Rags to the gay Pompadour…” – H. Howard, 1765
Taken from: We’re guessing “jackass,” with the “jack” part meaning man or manish.
Why it still works: The English language has retired so many words to describe prostitutes that the entire prostitution business is no longer what it used to be. As a result, so many words used to set whores apart from each other, be they fat, tall, double-jointed and/or branded by Neil Patrick Harris, are shamefully absent from the English lexicon.
If you ever wanted to call someone a tall, broad, mannish prostitute who is too big and fat to stay in business, all you have to do is call them a “Jack whore” to get your spectacular point across.
Definition: Noun. “A he or jack ass: so called by a lady that affected to be extremely polite and modest, who would not say Jack because it was vulgar, nor ass because it was indecent.”
Actual example: “Old yer tongue, Johnny bum!” – Gentleman Ranker by John Jennings, 1942
Taken from: “Jackass.” Beloved, timeless “jackass.” And if you think we’re talking about the MTV show when we say that, kill yourself. Now.
Why it still works: Because sometimes you want to insult someone without lowering yourself to their level. Johnny Bum is a G-rated “jackass” with a dash of extra insult by making it clear to the man that you understand his language, but have no wish to lower yourself to his level by addressing him in his own tongue.
Definition: Noun. “One who keeps a mistress, as he supposes, for his own use, but really for that of the public.”
Actual example: “DING HARRY still continues to be (what he was when you left England)–a Drunken whoring Secretary of State, and which is yet worse he is so Impudently Leud, ’tis confidently affirm’d–he has danc’d Naked before–Has been a keeping Cully many Years…” – John Dunton, 1719
Taken from: The archaic word “cully,” meaning a fool or a cheat, which in turn likely originated from the Middle English coilin, “testicle.”
Why it still works: Because there really is no word to describe the above scenario, common though it may be. If someone is fooling around out with a man or woman renown for their lose morals, it shouldn’t be too surprising that they are playing hanky with more than one sexy suitor. “Keeping cully” is the crafty way of saying to your best friend: “Yo, that slut you’re dating? She’s still a slut.”
Definition: Noun. A large, lax penis. Also, “a dull inanimate fellow” about as useful as a large, lax penis.
Actual example: “In faith, ere you go, I will make you a lobcock.” – William Carew Hazlitt, 1874
Taken from: Lob: “a clumsy dull person; a lout.”
Why it still works: We have many words for penises that are used as pejoratives—perhaps somewhat unfairly—but that catalogue is severely limited when it comes to large, droopy appendages about as joyless as a former roommate. In short, if “hard-on” ever had an antonym, it was “lobcock,” and the English language will remain at a severe disadvantage as long as it is left out of the planet’s Scrabble parties.