Our parents always told us: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” It’s an excellent rule of thumb…but it can be very tough to follow when in the midst of an argument. If you can’t bring yourself to always turn the other cheek, why not add a little cheek to your next comeback? Inspired by the Shakespearean Insults Pouch featured in Bas Bleu’s new Summer 2019 edition, we collected fourteen literary insults sure to elevate your next contretemps to, if not a respectable level, at least a bookish one!

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“You talk too damn much and too damn much of it is about you.” —Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

“If I was as ignorant as you I wouldn’t let on.” —Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“You’re also growing out of your pants a little.” —Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“It should take you about four seconds to get from here to the door. I’ll give you two.” —Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“You speak an infinite deal of nothing.” —William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

“The simplicity of your character makes you exquisitely incomprehensible to me.” —Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

“My dear, I don’t give a damn.” —Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

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