When Insults Had Class

These glorious insults are classics from an era before the English language got boiled down to four-letter words.

 

The exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor:

She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”

He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

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A member of Parliament to Disraeli:

“Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”

“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

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“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

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“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

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“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow

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“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

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“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

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“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

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“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde

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“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…. If you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

 

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second…. If there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in response.

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“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

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“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

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“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”- Irvin S. Cobb

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“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.”- Samuel Johnson

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“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

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“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand

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“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

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“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

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“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

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“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

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“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… For support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

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“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

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“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”- Groucho Marx