When Insults had class:

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

The exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor:

Said she, ‘If you were my husband I’d give you poison,’ He said, ‘If you were my wife, I’d drink it.’

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.’

‘He had delusions of adequacy.’ Walter Kerr

‘He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.’ Winston Churchill

‘I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.’ Clarence Darrow

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

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

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

‘He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.’ Oscar Wilde

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.

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

‘He is a self-made man and worships his creator.’ John Bright

‘I’ve just learned of his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.’  Irvin S. Cobb

‘He’s not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.’  Samuel Johnson

‘He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.’  Paul Keating

‘In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.’  Charles, Count Talleyrand

‘Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?’ Mark Twain

‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.  Oscar Wilde

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

‘He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.’ Billy Wilder

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

Here is a great list of quotes, but where are the women? So I shall end with a female quote:

‘A woman has to be twice as good as a man to go half as far.’  Fannie Hurst



21 thoughts on “When Insults had class:

      1. M-R

        My father used to love to watch his TV show … can’t recollect what it was called … but Daddy (I was a kid) would be heard chortling throughout …


      2. bkpyett Post author

        No-one can do it like the English! My father enjoyed English humour and even had some on records! We’d listen over and over to the Bricklayer’s story, (a Hoffnung story, and we’d know what was coming and still find it funny!)


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