Shakespearean insults in everyday contexts

Sorrel’s guide to the top 10 Shakespearean insults and how to use them in your everyday life.

  1. “There’s small choice in rotten apples.” from Taming of the Shrew.

When you can’t find a decent drinks selection on your Summer VIIIs cider run.


  1. “I desire that we be better strangers.” from As You Like It.

When dancing on the cheese floor in Park End.


  1. “Tempt not too much the hatred of my spirit, for I am sick when I do look on thee.” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

When your tute partner has done more work than you.


  1. “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” from Macbeth.

When your ‘best mate’ does a terrible sconce on you at a crew date.


  1. Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine drunk, and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedclothes about him.” from All’s Well That Ends Well.

When you’re walking home and see ‘one of the lads’ passed out next to Hassan’s.


  1. “Thou art a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver’d, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mungril bitch.” from King Lear.

When you’re trying to reach the word count during your essay all-nighter.


  1. “Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.” From Cymbeline.

In response to a tutor’s comment on your essay.


  1. “There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.” From Henry V.

When your tutor asks where your essay is.


  1. “Thou art unfit for any place but hell.” From Richard III.

Your response to the examiner who hasn’t set any questions on the only topic you revised.


  1. “Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.” From Measure for Measure.

When bae doesn’t text you back.