Insults of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries


 Gnashnab is an 18th century northern English word, meaning someone who just complains all the time. Contemporary synonyms include nitpicker, moaner and grumbler. It’s just as true now as it was back then—no one likes a gnashnab.


Mental Floss notes this word is “probably derived from ‘scopperloit,’ an old English dialect word for a vacation or a break from work.” A scobberlotcher is someone who avoids hard work like it’s their job. The next time you catch someone dozing off at their desk, hit ’em with this one.


This is a Victorian word meaning idiot. This is an appropriate example with a contemporary angle, spoken with some irritation while driving on the highway: “That zounderkite just cut me off!”


Shakespeare coined this one to describe an adulterer. BBC America thinks this would make a great band name, and they are totally on the mark. You’re at the show, the lights go down, and suddenly through the swirling fog and darkness you hear “Good evening Cincinnati, how ya doing? We…are…Bedswerver!”


The website Matador Network says this is “a 17th century variant of ‘zounds’ which was an expression of surprise or indignation.” It’s less of an insult and more of something to yell after someone has insulted you…but of course you can follow up with some other great words of your own.


A sexually incompetent man, who is either too young to have had sex or one who is too old to attempt it (“flapdoodle” also referred to nonsense or rubbish and ladyparts in the same time period)


A prostitute, who presumably works in the countryside

More to come at a later date