insult

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

Definition of insult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

insult

noun
in·​sult | \ ˈin-ˌsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio) \

Definition of insult (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from insult

Verb

insulter noun
insultingly \ in-​ˈsəl-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce insultingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for insult

Synonyms: Verb

affront, dis (also diss) [slang], disrespect, offend, outrage, slap, slight, wound

Synonyms: Noun

affront, barb, brickbat, cut, dart, dig, dis (also diss) [slang], epithet, gird, indignity, name, offense (or offence), outrage, personality, poke, put-down, sarcasm, slap, slight, slur

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Choose the Right Synonym for insult

Verb

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

Examples of insult in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It has been used by politicians to insult former first lady Michelle Obama, by U.S. presidents to criticize U.N. delegates and by the founders of modern political thought to term people with black skin as subhuman. Katie Mettler, Washington Post, "A black TV host’s co-anchor compared him to a gorilla. He responded with humanity.," 27 Aug. 2019 But what of comments or behavior that, while insulting, arguably occupy a grey zone? Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Is it ever okay to express your anger by emailing someone else’s boss?," 27 Aug. 2019 Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Buzzfeed Few people, especially politicians, can stand to be insulted. Jeffery C. Mays, New York Times, "Trump Attacks. De Blasio Strikes Back, and Hopes Voters Notice.," 26 July 2019 After the collision, the two women began to insult each other. cleveland.com, "Argument over parked car escalates to use of pepper spray: Solon police blotter," 25 July 2019 The protest came 10 days after the leak of 889 pages of online chats in which Rossello and some of his close aides insulted women and mocked constituents, including victims of Hurricane Maria. Danica Coto, SFChronicle.com, "Puerto Rico capital gridlocked by protesters demanding governor’s resignation," 22 July 2019 The intent certainly wasn’t to insult anybody, not Emmett Till by any means. Emily Caron, SI.com, "White Sox: 'Poor Form' to Include Emmett Till in Segment About Chicago Celebrities," 2 July 2019 House Democrats have been trying to circumvent Trump’s wishes by going straight to the IRS to get the returns, prompting White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to insult the intelligence of congresspeople. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "4 Things That Might Be Easier Than Getting Donald Trump’s Tax Returns," 15 Apr. 2019 Both are scenes where the woman dares to insult the mighty phallus. Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, "Writing a Feminist Novel With a Man's Point of View," 20 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Popeyes, Chick-fil-A and other fast-food chains traded insults on Twitter, claiming ownership to the best-tasting sandwich. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Tennessee man sues Popeyes for running out of chicken sandwiches," 30 Aug. 2019 The gesture, which spread around the league and to other sports, sparked an intense national debate over the role of athletes in politics, inspired Twitter insults from President Trump and arguably cost Kaepernick a job in the NFL. The Si Staff, SI.com, "100 Figures Who Shaped the NFL’s First Century," 28 Aug. 2019 President Donald Trump and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio traded insults Thursday, with the commander in chief hitting his hometown’s leader over his reaction to a recent water-dousing attack on several police officers. Adam Edelman, NBC News, "Trump, Bill de Blasio brawl over water-dousing attack on New York City police," 25 July 2019 As Trump and Biden traded insults, one could be forgiven for momentarily believing the 2020 general election had already begun. Liz Goodwin, BostonGlobe.com, "On the campaign trail in Iowa, Biden and Trump take aim at each other," 11 June 2019 At one point, Trump and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz traded insults over the pace of hurricane recovery. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "Disaster aid passes Congress after months of delays over costs, border wall and Trump's feud with Puerto Rico," 3 June 2019 Advertising Television news broadcasts are dominated by Brexit, with pundits dissecting daily developments and politicians trading insults. Danica Kirka, The Seattle Times, "Brexhaustion: Long, grinding Brexit is stressing people out," 12 Apr. 2019 The incidents likely also reflect the nation’s divisive political climate, which has seen lawmakers routinely trading insults. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Racial slurs and fat-shaming insults keep popping up on receipts. Is Trump worsening the trend?," 29 Oct. 2018 Nine months before Trump and Kim sat down in Singapore, the two leaders were trading insults and threats, raising the prospect of a catastrophic military conflict in the region. Kelsey Davenport, Time, "This Is What Trump Needs to Do to Make North Korea Get Rid of Their Nukes," 13 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of insult

Verb

1540, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1671, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for insult

Verb

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

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Statistics for insult

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insult

The first known use of insult was in 1540

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More Definitions for insult

insult

verb

English Language Learners Definition of insult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to do or say something that is offensive to (someone) : to do or say something that shows a lack of respect for (someone)

insult

noun

English Language Learners Definition of insult (Entry 2 of 2)

: a rude or offensive act or statement : something that insults someone

insult

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

Kids Definition of insult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to treat or speak to with disrespect You insulted them by leaving early.

insult

noun
in·​sult | \ ˈin-ˌsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio) \

Kids Definition of insult (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or statement showing disrespect

insult

noun
in·​sult | \ ˈin-ˌsəlt How to pronounce insult (audio) \

Medical Definition of insult

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 tuberculosisJournal of the American Medical Association
2 : something that causes or has a potential for causing insult to the body damage resulting from malnutritional insults

Other Words from insult

insult verb

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More from Merriam-Webster on insult

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with insult

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for insult

Spanish Central: Translation of insult

Nglish: Translation of insult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of insult for Arabic Speakers

Comments on insult

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