Fun and Clever Insults from Famous People in the Days of Yore

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

Ernest Hemingway: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

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

Winston Churchill (to George Bernard Shaw): “Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one.”

3. The Earl of Sandwich: “You, Mr. Wilkes, will die either of the pox or on the gallows.”

John Wilkes (to the Earl of Sandwich): “That depends, my lord, whether I embrace your mistress or your principles.”

4. James Reston (on Richard Nixon): “He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.”

5. Lady Astor (to Winston Churchill): “Winston, if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee!”

Winston Churchill (to Lady Astor): “Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it!”

6. Winston Churchill (when asked whether he was drunk): “I may be drunk madame, but in the morning I will be sober, and you will be just as ugly.”

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

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

9. Howard Hughes (about Clark Gable): “His ears made him look like a taxi cab with both doors open.”

10. Lyndon B. Johnson (about Gerald Ford): “He’s a nice guy, but he played too much football with his helmet off.”

11. Jack E. Leonard: “There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.”

12. Leonard Louis Levinson: “I wish I’d known you when you were alive.”

13. Abraham Lincoln: “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”

14. Groucho Marx: “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll make an exception.”

15. Groucho Marx: “From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.”

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

17. Golda Meir: “Don’t be humble…you’re not that great.”

18. Thomas Paine (about John Adams): “It has been the political career of this man to begin with hypocrisy, proceed with arrogance, and finish with contempt.”

19. Robert Redford: “He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.”

20. Thomas Brackett Reed: “They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.”

21. Aristophanes: “You have all the characteristics of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding, and a vulgar manner.”

22. Milton Berle: “Why are we honoring this man? Have we run out of human beings?”

23. Stephen Bishop: “I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.”

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

25. Winston Churchill: “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices Iadmire.”

26. Winston Churchill: “A modest little person, with much to be modest about.”

27. A. E. Housman: “Nature not content with denying him the ability to think, has endowed him with the ability to write.”

28. Samuel Johnson: “He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.”

29. Victor Hugo: “God was bored by him.”

30. William McAdoo (on Warren G. Harding): “His speeches left the impression of an army of pompous phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea.”

31. Jim Samuels: “You’re a good example of why some animals eat their young.”

32. George Bernard Shaw: “The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation, but not the power of speech.”

33. Neil Simon: “Gee, what a terrific party. Later on we’ll get some fluid and embalm each other.”

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

35. Mark Twain: “His ignorance covers the world like a blanket, and there’s scarcely a hole in it anywhere.”

36. Mark Twain: “A solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.”

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

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

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

40. Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

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

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

43. Oscar Wilde: “Why was I born with such contemporaries?”

44. Andrew Lang (1844-1912): “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts for support rather than illumination.”

45. Edith Sitwell: “A great many people now reading and writing would be better employed keeping rabbits.”

46. Franklin K. Dane: “Ignorance is never out of style. It was in fashion yesterday, it is the rage today, and it will set the pace tomorrow.”

47. Elizabeth Taylor: “Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.”

48. Mark Twain: “I can never learn to like her, except on a raft at sea with no other provisions in sight.”

49. Dorothy Parker: “The woman speaks eight languages and can’t say ‘no’ in any of them.”

50. William Kerr: “He has delusions of adequacy.”

51. John Bright: ”He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”

52. Truman Capote (on Jack Kerouac): “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

53. Gregory Ratoff: “You’re a parasite for sore eyes.”

54. Jonathan Swift: “Fine words! I wonder where you stole them.”

55. Liberace: “What you said hurt me very much. I cried all the way to the bank.”

56. William Dean Howells: “Some people stay longer in an hour than others can in a week.”

57. Fred Allen: “I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”

58. Oscar Levant: “Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.”

59. Groucho Marx: “Don’t look now, but there’s one too many in this room and I think it’s you.”

60. Jeremy Thorpe: “Greater love hath no man than this, to lay down his friends for his life.”

61. Moliere: “He must have killed a lot of men to have made so much money.”

62. Charles Kingsley: “He was one of those men who possess almost every gift, except the gift of the power to use them.”

63. Oscar Wilde: “He would stab his best friend for the sake of writing an epigram on his tombstone.”

64. W. S. Gilbert: “No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have; and I think he’s a dirty little beast.”

65. Heinrich Heine: “Ordinarily he is insane. But he has lucid moments when he is only stupid.”

66. Jean Webster: “She never lets ideas interrupt the easy flow of her conversation.”

67. Mark Twain: “You take the lies out of him, and he’ll shrink to the size of your hat; you take the malice out of him, and he’ll disappear.”

68. Lyndon B. Johnson: “The fact that a man is a newspaper reporter is evidence of some flaw of character.”

69. Mark Twain: “Reader, suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

70. Oscar Wilde: “A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.”

71. James Thurber: “A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.”

72. Benjamin Disraeli: “He was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea and that was wrong.”

73. Leo Tolstoy: “He never chooses an opinion; he just wears whatever happens to be in style.”

74. Groucho Marx: “He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

75. Josh Billings: “When I see a man of shallow understanding extravagantly clothed, I feel sorry – for the clothes.”

76. Catherine the Great: “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”

77. Lillian Gish: “Young man, if God had wanted you to see me that way, he would have put your eyes in your bellybutton.”

78. Benjamin Disraeli: “If William Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune. If anybody pulled him out, that would be a calamity.”

79. Mark Twain: “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig Jane Austen up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

80. Oscar Wilde: “There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Alexander Pope.”

81. Will Rogers: “An economist’s guess is liable to be as good as anybody else’s.”

82. Mark Twain: “There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.”

83. Charlotte Whitton: “Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”

84. Mark Twain: “He is useless on top of the ground; he aught to be under it, inspiring the cabbages.”

85. Mark Twain: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”

86. Dorothy Parker: “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

87. Groucho Marx: “Remember men, we’re fighting for this woman’s honor; which is probably more than she ever did.”

88. Richard Moore: “When I read Homer, I sometimes have the feeling that we have been starving to death for 3,000 years.”

89. Albert Einstein: “Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the former.”

90. Adlai Stevenson: “Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.”

91. Will Rogers: “A fool and his money are soon elected.”

92. Will Rogers: “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”

93. Jonathan Swift: “I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”

94. Nathaniel Hawthorne (on Edward Bulwer-Lytton): “Bulwer nauseates me; he is the very pimple of the age’s humbug. There is no hope of the public, so long as he retains an admirer, a reader, or a publisher.”

95. Anatole France (on Emile Zola): “His work is evil, and he is one of those unhappy beings of whom one can say that it would be better had he never been born.”

96. Fred Allen: “What’s on your mind? If you’ll forgive the overstatement.”

97. P. G. Wodehouse: “He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.”

98. Charles Baudelaire (on Richard Wagner): “I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.”

99. Groucho Marx: “Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you.”

100. George Bernard Shaw: “He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”

“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – See more at:
“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – See more at:
“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – See more at:
“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – See more at:
“He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” – See more at: