from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To treat with gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness. synonym: offend.
  • intransitive verb To affront or demean.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To make an attack on.
  • intransitive verb To behave arrogantly.
  • noun An insulting remark or act.
  • noun Medicine A bodily injury, irritation, or trauma.
  • noun Something that causes injury, irritation, or trauma.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In pathology, to injure; inflict traumatism upon.
  • To leap upon; specifically, to make a sudden, open, and bold attack upon; attack in a summary manner, and without recourse to the usual forms of war.
  • To offer an indignity to; treat contemptuously, ignominiously, or insolently, either by speech or by action; manifest scorn or contempt for.
  • To leap or jump.
  • To behave with insolent triumph; exult contemptuously: with on, upon, or over.
  • noun The act of leaping on anything.
  • noun An assault; a summary assault; an attack.
  • noun An affront, or a hurt inflicted upon one's self-respect or sensibility; an action or utterance designed to wound one's feelings or ignominiously assail one's self-respect; a manifestation of insolence or contempt intended to provoke resentment; an indignity.
  • noun Contemptuous treatment; outrage.
  • noun In pathology, external violence which causes a lesion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To leap or jump.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To behave with insolence; to exult.
  • transitive verb obsolete To leap or trample upon; to make a sudden onset upon.
  • transitive verb To treat with abuse, insolence, indignity, or contempt, by word or action; to abuse.
  • noun obsolete The act of leaping on; onset; attack.
  • noun Gross abuse offered to another, either by word or act; an act or speech of insolence or contempt; a deprecatory remark; an affront; an indignity.
  • noun (Med., Biology) An injury to an organism; trauma.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An action or form of speech deliberately intended to be rude.
  • noun Anything that causes offence/offense by being of an unacceptable quality.
  • noun medicine Something causing disease or injury to the body or bodily processes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb treat, mention, or speak to rudely
  • noun a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
  • noun a deliberately offensive act or something producing the effect of deliberate disrespect


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French insulter, from Old French, to assault, from Latin īnsultāre, to leap at, insult, frequentative of īnsilīre, to leap upon : in-, on; see in– + salīre, to leap; see sel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin insultāre ("to jump at, insult"), ultimately from salīre ("to jump").


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  • Two people compliment Palin, one person insults her, and the insult is the headline.

    Begala calls Palin 'about half a whack job' 2009

  • No, the insult is a bit more subtle and a bit more direct.

    September 22nd, 2009 m_francis 2009

  • If you make a good point and then follow it with an insult, the insult is all that is heard.

    Waldo Jaquith - Pi is exactly three! 2007

  • These are different words, but the insult is the same, and all the more stinging because they may pursue and attack one another in this fashion without restraint, without mercy.

    Indiana 1900

  • As for the numerous servants (more numerous that evening than usual, for their number was augmented by cooks and butlers from the Cafe de Paris), venting on their employers their anger at what they termed the insult to which they had been subjected, they collected in groups in the hall, in the kitchens, or in their rooms, thinking very little of their duty, which was thus naturally interrupted.

    The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas p��re 1836

  • Transport Workers Union Local 100, said workers apparently are being directed to use regular trains to move the garbage, which he called an "insult to all riders."

    NY Daily News 2011

  • (diagnosis, prognosis, pathology) the term insult is borrowed from medicine, where it is defined as “a generic term for any stressful stimulus, which under normal circumstances does not affect the host organism, but may result in morbidity when it occurs in a background of pre-existing compromising conditions” (Segen, 1992).

    Chapter 8 2000

  • An insult is only valid if the person issuing the insult has some credibility.

    Think Progress » Limbaugh stands by his Haiti remarks, tells critical caller she’s a ‘bigot’ with ‘tampons in her ears.’ 2010

  • Not the dreaded Pamprin insult of 1975!! the gloves are off now, huh?

    Think Progress » Will Sarah Palin call on Rush Limbaugh to apologize for saying liberal activists are ‘retards’? 2010

  • My favorite part of this episode was at the end where, after the final insult from the Venezuelans, Leslie looks over at Tom and he gives her a little nod to let her know that he also thinks they have gone much to far … knowing that she will tear up the check and that he is giving her permission.

    'Parks and Recreation' recap: Viva Pawnee! | 2009


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