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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:00 pm

• insult •

Pronunciation: in-sêltHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To offend, affront, to treat with scornful indignity, showing great disrespect.

Notes: What is interesting about today's Good Word is that its noun is marked by a simple shift of the accent back one syllable: in-sult. Many verb-to-noun pairs in English exhibit this peculiarity: survey (survey : a survey), reject (reject : a reject), and rewrite (rewrite : a rewrite) among others. The noun from today's word is also used in medicine in the sense of "attack, injury, trauma", as an insult to the leg. The participle serves double duty as the adjective: insulting. Insults in disguise are known as persiflage.

In Play: The most common phrase that employs today's Good Word is "adding insult to injury", which simply means to insult twice over: "Not only did Sue Persillias turn down Matt Tremony's marriage proposal, she added insult to injury by accepting his brother's!" Otherwise, the use of this word is straightforward: "Sue Flay was so insulted to be taken to a restaurant that used paper napkins, that she walked out and took a cab home."

Word History: Today's Good Word was taken directly from Middle French insulter, a derivation from Latin insultare "to assail, assault". This word was early on used by Cicero in sense of "insult, scoff at, revile". It is the frequentative of insilire "to leap at, attack", meaning "to leap at frequently, to keep on attacking". This word was put together from in- "in, on, at" + salire "to leap". The PIE mother word from which salire developed had little impact on languages other than Latin. In Latin we see it in several words borrowed by English. In addition to salient, that's it in sally (forth), assail, assault, result, and the name of the leaping fish, the salmon. (Lest we insult Ellen Adams, let us now offer her a word of thanks for suggesting today's Good Word.)
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Postby MTC » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:19 am

Here's a couple of proverbs on insults :

“Insults should be written in sand, compliments should be carved in stone.”
(Arab proverb)

"Do not insult the crocodile until you've crossed the river."
(Chinese proverb)

And a couple of examples:

"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness inothers."
(Samuel Johnson)

"She was so ugly she could make a mule back away from an oatbin."
(Will Rogers)

As for the word "insult" itself, here is the medical definition:

insult ( noun)
Any stressful stimulus which, under normal circumstances, does not affect the host organism, but which may result in morbidity, when it occurs in a background of preexisting compromising conditions
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002

Describing an "insult" as a "stressful stimulus" is like describing a dart as "an oblong object"--it misses the point. No insult to the learned lexicographer intended.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:07 pm

She was so ugly she could make a mule back away from an oatbin."
(Will Rogers)

I love it: so succinct.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:10 pm

My favorite insult is Hamlet's answer to the king who had asked where was Polonius.

"In heaven. Send thither to seek him. If he be not there, seek him in the other place thyself!"
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:40 am

She was so ugly she could scare a haint up a thorn bush. Where haint means ghost.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:37 am


"Bloviating blatherskites with their terradiddling codswallop".

"Toadies, servile lickspittles currying the favor of prominent
people with obsequious praise and flattery."
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby misterdoe » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:34 am

Dorothy Parker: "This is not a novel to be tossed lightly aside. It should be thrown with great force."

Groucho Marx: "When I picked up your book I was so convulsed with laughter that I had to set it down, but one day I intend to read it. "

Promo from TV show Damages:
Man tells Glenn Close, "If you were a man, I'd hit you." She shot back, "If you were a man, I'd be scared."
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