I thought this week I’d amuse you with some medieval insults. Some were used for good-natured ribbing, whereas others might be more defamatory in nature. Reputation was important in the medieval world, and slandering the wrong person meant you could find yourself in court. Men typically based their reputations on social status, whereas the reputations of women were more based on their virtue and the way they conducted themselves. Depending on where you live, some of these insults (or versions of them) might still be in use today. If this is the case, please know that no real offense is intended—this is all in good fun!
Bespawler: Someone who spits when they talk.
Bobolyne: A fool.
Churl: Coarse and peasant-like. Its origin is the Old English “ceorl” which meant “one level above a slave.”
Cox-comb: A vain, narcissistic person.
Cumberworld: A useless person.
Dalcop: A very stupid person.
Doxy: A promiscuous woman. Also literally the wife or lover of an outlaw who robbed people on the road.
Driggle-Draggle: A messy or untidy woman.
Fopdoodle: A stupid, idiotic person.
Fustilugs: A large, clumsy slob.
Glos Pautonnier: An Old French word for a gluttonous scoundrel.
Hedge-born: Of base birth, or illegitimate
Levereter: Corrupt (“Liver-eater”)
Mandrake Mymmerkin: Childlike. A puppet, or little man.
Muck-sprout: Someone who is overly talkative and curses a lot.
Mumblecrust: A toothless beggar.
Puterelle: A woman of ill-repute.
Raggabrash: A grubby, disorganized person.
Rakefire: A guest who has outstayed their welcome.
Ronyon: An old, mangy, scabby woman
Saddle-goose: A very stupid person.
Scobberlotcher: A lazy person who never works hard.
Skamelar: A scrounge, or parasite.
Snoutband: Someone who constantly interrupts a conversation to correct or contradict the speaker.
Sot: A drunkard.
Stampcrab: A clumsy person.
Trencherman: Someone who overeats and attends social events just for the food.
Wandought: A weak, ineffectual man.
Whiffle-whaffle: An indecisive person who wastes others’ time.
Yaldson: The son of a prostitute.
Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover more topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.
5 thoughts on “Medieval Monday: Insults”
“Cumberworld”–I’ll remember that one. Reminds me of a lot of liberals.
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Some of these would be fun to throw into a conversation, for sure. 🙂
For some reason “churl” and “doxy” have a pleasant sound to my ears.
Driggle-draggle is just fun to say.
Hedge born I can almost imagine. (Someone who actually was born in a hedge, not a house or other structure).
I’ve heard the term “hedge knight” used in a similar fashion, a knight who lives out in the brush.
Sot’s another one. Quick, but somehow it carries a strong image for me, like someone who has some very wet rag or laundry that they’re shaking and squeezing out before hanging to dry.
Thanks for sharing.
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