When Authors Have No Chill: 13 Hilarious Literary Insults You’ll Love

If you don’t have anything nice to say, at least make it funny. These hilarious literary insults will have you rolling in tears from both laughter and hurt feelings.

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Insults shouldn’t be condoned. Well, the unfunny ones, anyway. Authors throughout history have written some pretty witty comebacks in their novels, making us simultaneously laugh and say, “Ouch.”

We could all name a bunch of humorous moments in our favorite books. Even in the most serious of plots, there is always that one character that cracks us up, particularly at another character’s expense. If there is one common ground between old and new literature, it is that authors never miss a beat for a good insult. Personally, I am here for it.

Best of Literary Comebacks of All Time

Have you ever been in an argument and couldn’t think of a good insult to throw? It’ll keep you up at night thinking that you have lost the roast battle. I’ll save you the embarrassment in the future and give you some funny jibes from these famous novels for you to use the next time you are feeling particularly mean.

A typewriter with a paper that says "Add insult to injury..."
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Classic Insults

Classic book graphic with a magnifying glass overlaid on a picture of books stacked to the right and a vase of green plants on the left.
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I never saw anybody take so long to dress, and with such little result.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

He is useless above the ground; he ought to be under it, inspiring the cabbages.

Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain

Some minds are like soup in a poor restaurant—better left unstirred.

Mike and Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse

She was more highly bred, than a hilltop bakery.

The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett

There is more charm in my little finger than in her whole body.

The Fairy Tales of Madame D’Aulnoy by Marie-Catherine Baronne D’Aulnoy

Modern Fiction

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She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, because it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make?

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

I’m sorry, but were you dropped on your head as an infant, or were you just born stupid?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

To say that men can be bullheaded would be insulting to the bull.

The Duke and I: Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Well, I know he’s boring. I could tell by his cardigan and loafers.

After by Anna Todd

Fantasy and Sci-Fi

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You look like you’re twelve. No. Maybe thirteen, but my sister has this doll that kinda reminds me of you. All big-eyed and vacant.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I said his poetry was terrible. It sounds like he ate a dictionary and started vomiting up words at random.

City of Bones: Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

While my lack of enthusiasm kept the bulk of humanity at arm’s length, it almost seemed to attract people like Charles…Maybe this sad sack egalitarianism makes the Charleses of the world, used as they are to being dismissed out of hand, feel raised to uncommon heights of social desirability when bathed in its jaundiced glow.

Nod by Adrian Barnes

Go find your pacifier and shut the hell up.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Authors can certainly get creative with their insults. It is truly rewarding to find a rude character likable, especially when you need a personality to adopt when you are in the middle of a roast battle. Take a few of these humorous digs to use or just to have a good laugh on a bad day.


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