Even if you don’t study languages and don’t particularly like reading literature, you cannot escape the main tool we use to communicate every day. And we all enjoy a good play on words or a smart metaphor. So you don’t need an education in linguistics to be interested in that field.

What is also often enjoyable is learning how people use different languages, what words are the same and for what concepts they have or don’t have words. Even in the same language there are variations. An interesting case is the English language as it is spoken in different parts of the world and has become lingua franca, so it inevitably will have changes. 

Twitter user Rob Delaney wanted to explore the differences in the English language. Being American, he asked his followers to present him with the best insults British people use and that made a very entertaining thread.

Funny-British-Insults-Twitter

Image credits: Rob Delaney

Image credits: Ralf Steinberger

More info: Twitter

#1

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robertjrintoul Report

Orange is aging
Community Member
1 month ago

I need to use this and not tell them what it means

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Rob Delaney is an American comedian who helped to write the script for the TV show Catastrophe (2015) and starred in it. He is also known for appearing in such films as Deadpool 2 (2018) and Hobbs & Shaw (2019). 

However, the platform that brought him to the spotlight was Twitter, where he started posting in 2009, and by 2016 he had over 1.2 million followers. He is considered to be the one of the first comedians who cracked his jokes on social media.

#2

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jerfinia Report

R Carson
Community Member
1 month ago

Clever

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#3

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DMaffman Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

That's harsh

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Now he has a following of 1.5 million people and still continues to entertain his audience. Recently, he wanted to be entertained himself and asked “What are some good British insults these days?”

He mentioned that he knows of “roaster”, “flannel”, or “weapon” that always makes him chuckle. And now he knows a lot more as 3k people joined the conversation to illuminate Rob about the awesome ways the Brits have to insult someone.

#4

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barryjohnreid21 Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

That needs skills though

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#5

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AdamCSharp Report

Orange is aging
Community Member
1 month ago

You utter wet wipe

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#6

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BVHarkonnen Report

Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Whahey. Surprised it's so far down. Plonker is one of the best insults ever, not least because of its use in Only Fools and Horses. "Rodney, you plonker!"

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It is weird to think that both Americans and British people speak the same language, but it sounds so different and the lexicons are diverse as well. On the other hand, it is the people who adapt the language to be a convenient tool to communicate, so it is only natural that in different places, even the same language will have variations. 

#7

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Matthewcoy Report

Thorfin Wolfsbane
Community Member
1 month ago

how about: "you're a coupon for a coupon"?

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#8

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Caro Caro
Community Member
1 month ago

Eejit is a favorite.

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#9

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Carpervert Report

Otter
Community Member
1 month ago

Long pig!

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The biggest difference between American and British English is probably the pronunciation. The vocabulary is mostly the same but some nouns, verbs and phrasal verbs are used differently. There are also minor differences in grammar, for example, the use of present perfect or how they express possession with the verbs have and have got. 

#10

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AGildedEye Report

NsG
Community Member
1 month ago

And nouns become adjectives for drunkenness the more middle class you are (as previously mentioned elsewhere)

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#11

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Sarah Barker
Community Member
1 month ago

That legit made me laugh out loud...

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#12

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Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
1 month ago

I’m not sure how that works, but it’s hysterical!

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And apparently, there are loads of insults that only the British use. The ones that were mentioned in the thread are quite funny and clever. They are often based on comparison, like ‘dry lunch’ or ‘muppet.’ 

Twitter user Arietta made a good point by explaining how you can make up your own insult: “The best ones are the random nouns that aren’t technically insults but are made into one by putting the word 'absolute' in front of it. Saw a comment calling someone an 'absolute f*****g pelican' the other day and I’m still not over it.”

#13

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

Adding "bloody" sounds more British to me

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#14

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NsG
Community Member
1 month ago

My mum considered that a mild swear when I was growing up, so she'd substitute it with "pilchard"

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Do you find differences between variants of English interesting? Which variant do you prefer to use? Also, do you know of any British insults that were not mentioned in this list? Let us know in the comments below!

#15

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RenGli81 Report

Got Myself 4 Dwarves
Community Member
1 month ago

It's yer da sells Avon - needs to be enunciated correctly for full effect

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#16

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Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

Spanner is much the same as calling someone a tool.

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#17

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Candia Lee
Community Member
1 month ago

I was clueless re "footy stickers". Why is that an insult? Isn't team support a huge thing everywhere?

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#18

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NsG
Community Member
1 month ago

Truth in advertising

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#19

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Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

Shut up, you're making the room smell? (sorry)

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#20

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Candia Lee
Community Member
1 month ago

So, get real?

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#21

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

You f*****g toilet brush! Oh it felt nice saying it

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#22

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Orange is aging
Community Member
1 month ago

Not anymore

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#23

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
1 month ago

Though, didn’t making a fist, bending your arm, and pushing it forward rapidly used to mean sex?

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#24

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Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

Wazzock needs to be used more. :D

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#25

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Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, but wet celery means something else, particularly when combined with a flying helmet and an egg whisk. ;-)

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#26

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Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
1 month ago

Well, are you?

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#27

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Rai Grant
Community Member
1 month ago

Donkey was the insult shouted at footy players who just hoofed the ball up the pitch with no skill or finesse lol, takes me back seeing that one!

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#28

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mrperson77 Report

Sawdust
Community Member
1 month ago

Sounds like you're admiring the size of his package.

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#29

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Candia Lee
Community Member
1 month ago

Dishcloth I like. Does quilt refer to the piecework?

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#30

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sbwalker5 Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

Full of air??

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Note: this post originally had 57 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.