Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are some wonderfully obscure insults

Screenshot: Classy Insults From Latin And Greek
Screenshot: Classy Insults From Latin And Greek

It’s a time-honored tradition in America for conversations around the Thanksgiving dinner table to devolve into shouting and name-calling whenever controversial topics are brought up. (How about that election, Grandpa!) Since it’s going to happen anyway, people might as well arm themselves beforehand by watching “Classy Insults From Latin And Greek,” a new video by linguist and author Arika Okrent and artist Sean O’Neill. Here, narrator Okrent simply names some of her favorite, antiquated insults—wonderfully nasty epithets forgotten by time—while O’Neill illustrates them on a whiteboard. Okrent says that these words provide a way to destroy one’s enemies in a debate “without resorting to the tired tropes of excretion and sexual metaphors.” These words are also good for anyone who wants to talk like Jonathan Harris from Lost In Space. Highlights include:

  • fissilingual: fork-tongued
  • pediculus: lice-infested
  • quidnunc: gossip-monger or busybody
  • quisquilian: worthless; consisting of trash
  • ructabunde: gasbag
  • xanthodontous: yellow-toothed

Meanwhile, aided by some time-lapse photography, O’Neill keeps things cute with his cartoonish illustrations, including cameos by Oscar The Grouch from Sesame Street and Ray Bolger as The Scarecrow from The Wizard Of Oz. Okrent ends with this advice: “Now go class up some comment sections, you pediculus, xanthodontic ructabundes.”


Okrent and O’Neill have a whole series of these whiteboard videos about the curious quirks of language, for those interested in more polite lessons.

[via Laughing Squid]