insult

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French insult (noun) and insulter (verb), from Latin insultāre (to jump at, insult), ultimately from salīre (to jump).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

insult (third-person singular simple present insults, present participle insulting, simple past and past participle insulted)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To behave in an obnoxious and superior manner (over, against). [16th-19th c.]
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II.3.3:
      thou hast lost all, poor thou art, dejected, in pain of body, grief of mind, thine enemies insult over thee, thou art as bad as Job […].
  2. (transitive) To offend (someone) by being rude, insensitive or insolent; to demean or affront (someone). [from 17th c.]
  3. (obsolete) To leap or trample upon; to make a sudden onset upon.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)

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Noun[edit]

insult (plural insults)

  1. An action or form of speech deliberately intended to be rude.
    • Savage
      the ruthless sneer that insult adds to grief
    • 1987, Jamie Lee Curtis, A Fish Called Wanda:
      To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people!
  2. Anything that causes offence/offense, e.g. by being of an unacceptable quality.
    The way the orchestra performed tonight was an insult to my ears.
  3. (medicine) Something causing disease or injury to the body or bodily processes.
    • 2006, Stephen G. Lomber, Jos J. Eggermont, Reprogramming the Cerebral Cortex (page 415)
      [] most investigators agreed with the characterization of early brain plasticity as a transiently available, ancillary system that is triggered by neural insult []
    • 2011, Terence Allen and Graham Cowling, The Cell: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford 2011, p. 96:
      Within the complex genome of most organisms there are alternative multiple pathways of proteins which can help the individual cell survive a variety of insults, for example radiation, toxic chemicals, heat, excessive or reduced oxygen.
  4. (obsolete) The act of leaping on; onset; attack.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)

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Translations[edit]

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Related terms[edit]

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