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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That sounds like a stretch... While this one is especially offensive, any costume intended to insult trans people — such as this Caitlyn Jenner costume from a couple years ago — should be avoided. Marci Robin, Good Housekeeping, "15 Offensive Halloween Costumes You Should Never Wear," 1 Aug. 2018 It is understood that in other countries and cultures, the gesture is considered insulting and even interpreted as a negative comment on homosexuality. SI.com, "Franck Ribery Needs a New Goal Celebration, Bayern Munich Winger's 'A-OK' Gesture Deemed Offensive," 25 Apr. 2018 To me, the constant defaulting to rape narratives feels insulting and misogynistic. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "I'm Tired of Male Screenwriters Using Rape as a Convenient Backstory for Women," 18 Jan. 2018 The mere rumor of insulting Islam can spark lynchings in Pakistan. Munir Ahmed, The Seattle Times, "Pakistan rejects US rebuke on religious freedoms," 11 Dec. 2018 Trump opted for insulting the restaurant, Waters and others. William Wan, chicagotribune.com, "We often fight rudeness with rudeness. And it can be contagious, research shows," 27 June 2018 Her point was that people who would never think of insulting someone with an offensive slur can be led, through the power of marketing, to willingly wear a brand that does exactly the same thing. Sonia K. Katyal, BostonGlobe.com, "The sudden rush of vulgar trademarks," 23 June 2018 President Donald Trump on Friday wondered why TBS has not fired late-night talk show host Samantha Bee for insulting Ivanka Trump, his daughter and a senior White House adviser. NBC News, "Trump: Why hasn't TBS fired Samantha Bee for Ivanka insult?," 1 June 2018 The law, which has been roundly condemned by the United Nations and dozens of rights groups, empowers prosecutors to file charges against anyone suspected of insulting the monarchy, including institutions and media outlets. Eli Meixler, Time, "Cambodia Has Made Its First Arrest Under a Repressive New Law," 15 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Video shot by bystanders and aired by numerous news outlets shows Bartlett swearing and hurling racial insults at the group of black cyclists, while keeping the gun at his side. Curt Anderson, The Seattle Times, "Miami prosecutor probing MLK traffic incident as hate crime," 22 Jan. 2019 Political leaders preen and hashtag and hurl insults, and when real life intrudes on the food fights? Lara Backmender, Glamour, "The March for Our Lives Activists Who Said Never Again," 1 Nov. 2018 The president will undoubtedly make hundreds more campaign stops before the next election in 2020, give speeches that are riddled with more lies, and hurl more insults at the media. Zach Schermele, Teen Vogue, "Student Journalists are More Important Than Ever Before in the Trump Era," 18 July 2018 Prosecutors alleged Majors spent years feuding with Jabara and his family, often bombarding them with racial and anti-Muslim insults, although the Jabaras are Christian. Adam Kealoha Causey, Fox News, "Oklahoma man convicted in hate-crime killing dies in prison," 13 Sep. 2018 No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Christopher Elliott, The Seattle Times, "Travel Wise | Government shutdown may create a ripple of disruptions for travelers," 22 Jan. 2019 An insult to everyone who cares about the planet #COP24 pic.twitter.com/ng7HuWIm1Y — James Ellsmoor (@jellsmoor) December 3, 2018 The country as a whole gets almost 80 percent of its electricity from coal, a major greenhouse gas emitter. Umair Irfan, Vox, "World leaders are working out a climate deal in Poland — despite Trump," 14 Dec. 2018 Her controversial comment followed other social media insults, and ABC had enough. Anita Bennett, Fortune, "Roseanne Barr Is Considering a TV Return After 'Roseanne' Was Canceled," 2 July 2018 In recent years, rising concerns over incivility - insults, condescension, dismissiveness and the like - have led to increasing research on the topic by social scientists and psychologists. William Wan, chicagotribune.com, "We often fight rudeness with rudeness. And it can be contagious, research shows," 27 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about insult

Statistics for insult

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insult

The first known use of insult was in 1540

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up insult? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!