My favourite top ten put-downs

Ever been slighted by someone and wished you had a killer response at the ready? Something so sharp it sliced the legs from underneath the offending party, leaving them squirming on the ground begging for forgiveness? It happened to me recently though I wasn’t present when the dirty deed was done. At first I shrugged the episode off. It was nothing, I told myself. It didn’t matter.

Until the inner rage started to escape and I found myself batting away the smoke bellowing from my nostrils and muttering ‘ bastard’ over and over as I made the tea.


I spent the following days trying to formulate the perfect put- down. It was going to be witty, concise and deadly in preparation for the showdown.

“Yes, well,” I practised aloud, “I may be  fat but in six months time I could be slim whereas you will always be short.”

(It has to be said that the person in question hadn’t actually referred to my weight but I thought I’d better have this one up my sleeve in case they did).

I also had “Fuck off, tosspot.” at the ready if the meeting was a fleeting one.

As you can see I wasn’t getting very far so I decided to look to books for inspiration.  I know from experience that writers can be vicious tongue- lashing types. And I was right. There’s a plethora of magnificent insults out there just waiting to be recycled.

Here are my top ten.

1.  Russel Brand – My Booky Wooky
“I couldn’t possibly have sex with someone with such a slender grasp on grammar.”


2.  Anthony Burgess – A Clockwork Orange
“Well, well, well, well. If it isn’t fat, stinking billygoat Billy-Boy in poison. How art thou, thy globby bottle of cheap, stinking chip-oil? Come and get one in the yarbles, if you have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly thou.”


3.  Kurt Vonnegurt – Timequake
“If your brains were dynamite there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.”


4.  Nick Hornby – High Fidelity
“Barry, you’re over thirty years old. You owe it to your mum and dad not to sing in a group called Sonic Death Monkey.”


5.   Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim
“You bloody old towser-faced boot-faced totem-pole on a crap reservation.”


6.   Martin Amis on Don Quixote
“Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies. When the experience is over, and the old boy checks out at last (on page 846 — the prose wedged tight, with no breaks for dialogue), you will shed tears all right; not tears of relief or regret but tears of pride. You made it.


7.   Earnest Hemingway on William Faulkner
“Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes — and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one.”



8.   Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises
“I misjudged you… You’re not a moron. You’re only a case of arrested development.”


9.  Bret Easton Ellis –  American Psycho
“She placed the file on top of the desk before asking, ‘Doin’ the crossword?’ dropping the g in ‘doing’ – a pathetic gesture of intimacy, an irritating stab at forced friendliness.”


10.  Katie Price – Being Jordan
“I did meet David Beckham, though. He held my hand while Posh wasn’t looking. She’s really rough without make-up.”

How about you? Have you got any to share?


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