insult

1 of 2

verb

in·​sult in-ˈsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio)
insulted; insulting; insults

transitive verb

: to treat with insolence, indignity, or contempt : affront
also : to affect offensively or damagingly
doggerel that insults the reader's intelligence

intransitive verb

archaic : to behave with pride or arrogance : vaunt
insulter noun

insult

2 of 2

noun

in·​sult ˈin-ˌsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio)
1
: a gross indignity : an instance of insolent or contemptuous speech or conduct
2
: injury to the body or one of its parts
also : something that causes or has a potential for causing such injury
pollution and other environmental insults
Choose the Right Synonym for insult

offend, outrage, affront, insult mean to cause hurt feelings or deep resentment.

offend need not imply an intentional hurting but it may indicate merely a violation of the victim's sense of what is proper or fitting.

hoped that my remarks had not offended her

outrage implies offending beyond endurance and calling forth extreme feelings.

outraged by their accusations

affront implies treating with deliberate rudeness or contemptuous indifference to courtesy.

deeply affronted by his callousness

insult suggests deliberately causing humiliation, hurt pride, or shame.

insulted every guest at the party

Example Sentences

Verb She felt they had insulted her by repeatedly ignoring her questions. We were greatly insulted by his rudeness. They're understandably insulted when no one asks for their opinion on a matter that affects them so much. Noun The fans hurled insults at the referee as he walked off the field after the game. Their decision to cancel the project was an insult to all my hard work. They got into a fight over a minor insult. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
None of this is intended to insult any sport—or any athlete. Jason Gay, WSJ, 20 June 2022 The latter comment was definitely meant to insult the intelligence and worth of the gold rushers. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 2022 The catchphrase on the T-shirt is a meme used by conservatives to insult President Biden. Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 26 Sep. 2022 To argue Don’t Worry Darling goes off the rails in its third act is to insult the (pretty, sun-baked) chaos that comes before it. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 23 Sep. 2022 Not only did Fisher publicly insult Saban, but Texas A&M upset Alabama last season in College Station. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 9 Oct. 2022 Once the targets are aware that they’ve been swindled, the fraudsters often insult or taunt them. Cezary Podkul, ProPublica, 19 Sep. 2022 Don’t insult your brethren with a straight pull of Evan Williams. John Clary Davies, Outside Online, 5 Sep. 2022 In 2018, the show became part of the news cycle when Bee used charged epithet that refers to a part of the female anatomy to insult President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 25 July 2022
Noun
To have Alec Baldwin associated with the film any longer is an insult to her memory. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 15 Oct. 2022 In cities and towns far from Mumbai, people filed police complaints, claiming that the portrayal of a foulmouthed Shiva was an insult to Hinduism. Samanth Subramanian, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2022 The singer, Ashraful Alom, known online as Hero Alom, was singing out of tune — and that was an insult to Bengali culture. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, 3 Oct. 2022 Herta has won on road and street courses and qualified on the front row for the 2021 Indy 500 — is an insult to IndyCar. Jenna Fryer, ajc, 5 Sep. 2022 Describing this game as a regression to the Xbox 360 era would be an insult to the late 2000s' best open-world adventures. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 22 Aug. 2022 The plan involves chopping down 29 mature trees, which angry neighbors say is an insult to a neighborhood that badly needs tree cover, especially as climate change intensifies urban heat islands. David Abel, BostonGlobe.com, 2 July 2022 That he is being memorialized today with a marble bust in the Senate is an insult to America and to humanity. WSJ, 14 June 2022 The moment serves as a reminder for many: A joke to one may be an insult to another. Tre'vaughn Howard, CBS News, 28 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insult.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle French or Latin; Middle French insulter, from Latin insultare, literally, to spring upon, from in- + saltare to leap — more at saltation

First Known Use

Verb

1540, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1671, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of insult was in 1540

Dictionary Entries Near insult

Cite this Entry

“Insult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insult. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

insult

1 of 2 verb
in·​sult in-ˈsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio)
: to treat or speak to with disrespect or scorn
insulter noun

insult

2 of 2 noun
in·​sult ˈin-ˌsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio)
: an act or expression showing disrespect or scorn

Medical Definition

insult

noun
in·​sult ˈin-ˌsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio)
1
: injury to the body or one of its parts
repeated acute vascular insults
any insult to the constitution of a patient suffering from active tuberculosis Journal of the American Medical Association
2
: something that causes or has a potential for causing insult to the body
damage resulting from malnutritional insults
insult verb

More from Merriam-Webster on insult

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