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) enPR: ĭnsŭlt', IPA(key): /ɪnˈsʌlt/
  • (noun) enPR: ĭn'sŭlt, IPA(key): /ˈɪn.sʌlt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌlt

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To be insensitive, insolent, or rude to (somebody); to affront or demean (someone). [from 17th c.]
    c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene v], page 199, column 2:
    And why I pray you? who might be your mother / That you inſult, exult, and all at once / Ouer the wretched?
  2. (intransitive, obsolete) To behave in an obnoxious and superior manner (over or against someone). [16th–19th c.]
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Against Pouerty and Want, with Such Other Adversity”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, partition 2, section 3, member 3, page 273:
      But be it ſo thou haſt loſt all, poore thou art deiected, in paine of body, griefe of mind, thine enimies inſult ouer thee, thou art as bad as Iob, yet tel me (ſaith Chryſoſtome [John Chrysostom]), was Iob or the Diuell the greater conqueror, ſurely Job, []
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To leap or trample upon; to make a sudden onset upon.

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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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Noun[edit]

insult m (plural insults)

  1. insult

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