"Flibbertigibbet" And 9 More Silly-Sounding Insults For Your Enjoyment!

Published on February 17, 2024

Credit: Obie Fernandez

A quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde says "A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally." Now, we want to double down on this phrase and say that we should always try to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

The entries in this article should be only used in jest, and you should only share them with someone who you know won’t be offended by them. In any case, some of these words sound so silly that there’s a pretty small chance anyone will take them seriously.

Keep on reading if you are looking for a new and fancy way to let someone know they are being a little cranky.



Credit: Sven Hornburg

This word sounds almost adorable, but it is actually another way to say one of the most popular insults in the English language. Poltroon is a 16th-century word that was used to call someone a coward, but nowadays, you might call someone a chicken for the same effect. Curiously, both words are connected etymologically: The Latin root to poltroon, pullus is also the root for the English word pullet (a young hen) and, of course, poultry.

Frankly, if Marty McFly had said "Nobody calls me poltroon" at the end of Back to the Future II , we probably wouldn’t quote that line as much as we do.



Credit: Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦

We know what you are thinking, but sadly, a crepehanger is not a place to hang delicious, freshly-made crepes. And yes, we were bummed about it too. On the bright side, this is actually a perfect example of what this word means. A crepehanger is a killjoy, a person who always takes a pessimistic view of things.

The origins of this insult are still unclear, but some believe it comes from a mourning practice of sewing black crepe paper onto clothing items like veils and hats. Therefore, a crepehanger would be someone whose pessimistic, and bleak demeanor is fit for a funeral.



Credit: Chris Sabor

Try saying this word three times fast. As silly as it sounds, slubberdegullion is one of the harshest insults on this list. It is derived from the English dialect word slubber, meaning "stain" or "filth", which in turn comes from an outdated Dutch word that means "to walk through mud." Accordingly, the insult slubberdegullion is used to describe a dirty scoundrel or rascal, or someone as unpleasant as walking through mud.



Credit: Joy Stamp


Have you ever heard the phrase "I asked for the news, not the weather"? Or maybe "say it, don’t spray it"? In case you haven’t, they are rather amusing ways of telling someone that they accidentally sprayed a bit of saliva on you when speaking.


Now, if you are looking for a new (and fancier) way to say this, you might want to call this person a "sialoquent" . This adjective was first used in the 17th century, and it has appeared in several dictionaries from that time: Thomas Blount’s Glossographia , one of the biggest dictionaries of the 17th century, describes sialoquent as "that spits much in his speech".



Credit: Girl with red hat

Being called a blabbermouth might be a bit harsh, especially when you are trying to lightly tease that chatty coworker with whom you enjoy wonderful talks by the watercooler. Well, you might want to try the word blatherskite next time: it might be as harsh, but it is uncommon enough that your coworker might think you are just trying to sound fancy.

Blatherskite is used to describe a person who foolishly talks too much, and it comes from the Scots compound word blather skate , in which the word skate is used to describe a deplorable person.



Credit: Jennifer Uppendahl

We have all felt cantankerous at times. Waking up extremely early, having no good snacks at home, or having to work late are all things that might make us feel grumpy or cranky. And someone might call us up on that.

They probably won’t use this old-fashioned adjective, but cantankerous is basically an 18th-century way to refer to a difficult person, or someone difficult to deal with. The origins of this word are mysterious, but many believe that it comes from a combination of the Middle English word contack , meaning "contention", and the words rancourous and cankerous .



Credit: ji jiali

Need a cheeky and lighthearted way to call your bald uncle the next Thanksgiving? You might want to try calling him a pilgarlic . This 16th-century word literally means peeled garlic and it is humorously used to describe bald-headed men since a bald head resembles a clove of peeled garlic. Over time, pilgarlic has also been used to describe someone being looked down upon with humorous contempt, regardless of the amount of hair on their head.



Credit: Unsplash

Like the expression "a bull in a china shop", fustilugs is an archaic word used to describe a clumsy person. This word might be derived from the verb "to lug", which means to drag a heavy object like a suitcase around.

So, the next time someone sarcastically claps at you for dropping a plate on your favorite dinner, you might disarm them by loudly embracing your fustilugs side.

Credit: Maria Lysenko



Smatchet sounds like a word straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Can’t you just picture a colorful creature on the cover of a book called something like "A Smatchet Took My Latchet"? In any case, while this word sounds almost whimsical, it is used to describe a rather unpleasant and rude person.

You can call someone a smatchet if they don’t apologize for bumping into you on the street, or for kicking into your seat during a long flight. Chances are, no one will fault you for it.



Credit: Fabian Gieske

We end this list with the silliest-sounding word we could find and, considering this article includes the word "slubberdegullion", this is no small feat.

Flibbertigibbet comes from the Middle English word flepergebet, which means a gossip or a chatterer. However, the word has evolved to describe a fickle, or flighty person. The one responsible for this connotation to the word might be the Bard himself: Shakespeare used "flibbertigibbet" as the name of a devil in his play King Lear .


12 Words That Should Make a Comeback

Published on February 17, 2024

Credit: Glen Carrie

The amazing trove of the American lexicon contains a world of expressions that have gracefully faded into antiquity. These words, once the staples of everyday talk, have become buried treasures waiting to be rediscovered.

You should not, by any means, feel offended if any of these words is an active part of your current vocabulary. But know that if that is the case, you belong to a select few who still keep their proverbial linguistic flames alive until a new generation brings it back to the colloquial spotlight.



Credit: Remi Jacquaint

Coined in the 1920s, the term "jalopy" refers to a dilapidated, often unreliable, and outdated car. Usually seen traveling backroads, loaded to the brim, these vehicles were all over the country during the Depression Era and beyond.

Though the jalopy may no longer roam through our highways, its place in the lexicon serves as a fond reminder of a bygone era.



Credit: Saad Chaudhry

Taken from the Greek god of the west wind, Zephyrus, this term has endured centuries to become synonymous with a soft, mild breeze. Over time, "zephyr" transcended its mythological origins and found its place in the English language to evoke the sensation of a delicate, cool wind.

Today, this old-timer word will pop up from time to time, offering a touch of elegance and an enduring link to a past era.



Credit: Kelly Sikkema

"Galoshes" is a word that conjures images of rainy days and puddle-jumping escapades. Its roots can be traced to the 14th-century Middle English term galoche , which was a clog or wooden shoe. Eventually, the word was used to describe a protective overshoe worn to shield one's footwear from the weather.

Then, in the 19th century, as practicality met fashion, galoshes became synonymous with rubber or waterproof overshoes, providing a solid defense against rain and mud. These days, the term "galoshes" stands as a charming linguistic vestige, sometimes brought up by grandmothers and old folks.



Credit: Schwerdhoefer

"Baloney" is synonymous with nonsense or foolishness. This word's origin remains a subject of debate. Some suggest there's a connection to the bologna sausage, often made with a mixture of various types of meat. Regardless of its roots, "baloney" serves as a slightly antiquated expression to dismiss exaggerations in a conversation.



Credit: Joel Wincott

Used to downplay annoyance or disappointment, the term "fiddlesticks" embodies a bygone era's knack for creative, yet polite, phrases. Despite its archaic nature, the word retains its place as a linguistic relic, offering a quirky way to convey a touch of exasperation or incredulity. Originating in the 17th century, this word is a metaphorical alternative to stronger, potentially rude expressions.



Credit: Zachary Nelson

"Whippersnapper" describes a young, usually impudent person who exhibits confidence beyond their years. Coined in the 17th century, it combines "whip," suggesting a quick or smart action, with "snapper," implying a sharp reply.

This word expresses a certain contempt for youthful audacity with a bit of humor. Originating in an era where respect for elders was fundamental, "whippersnapper" reflects the feelings of an older generation astonished by the impertinence of the young.



Credit: Samuel Scrimshaw

Not the greatest of terms to be associated with, gobemouche comes from the French language, where it translates to "mouth-gaper." Hailing from the 18th century, this old-timer word refers to a gullible or easily deceived person, someone who eagerly swallows information without skepticism. It originates in the idea of a wide-open mouth, ready to accept anything fed to it.



Credit: Eli DeFaria

Working as a diametrically opposed concept to "despair", the word "respair" expresses renewed hope or reprieve after a period of distress. It is rooted in the Latin respirare , meaning to breathe.

Even though it was eclipsed by its more commonly used synonym, "hope," this antiquated but poetic gem transmits the beauty of resilience, offering comfort in the face of life's trials.



Credit: Lesly Juarez

"Gigglemug" is a charming term that describes an individual with an infectious or constant smile. This simple blend of "giggle" and "mug" originated in the joyous 1920s era. While the term may have faded from the contemporary lexicon, it evokes images of carefree laughter and an era when a light-hearted spirit was celebrated with the endearing nickname of "gigglemug."



Credit: Carrie Borden

Another term that came from the roaring twenties, "hotly-totsy" expresses the happy-go-lucky spirit of the Jazz Age. This phrase describes something fashionable and trendy. It originates in the combination of the words "hot" for trendy and "otsy" as an embellishment.

Though relegated to the past, "hotsy-totsy" remains a linguistic memory of an era when the pursuit of what was fashionable was an acceptable occupation. Not so unlike the present times for many celebrities.



Credit: Andrew Foster

"Whooperup" is a term of a similar spirit to the ones just described but hailing from a very different environment: the American frontier. It described a sense of noisy enthusiasm and lively commotion.

A "whooperup" is someone or something that stirs up excitement or engages in joyous partying. The word combines "whoop," an exuberant expression, with "up," emphasizing a high degree of passion. While it may sound a bit wild these days, it was quite fitting for the era when it was born.



Credit: Benjamin Davies

A phrase meant to describe individuals who accomplish their goals while enduring misfortunes, "pang-wangle" was coined in the 18th century. It encourages the recipient to remain upbeat and succeed in coming out victoriously of an unpleasant or tricky situation. While it is certainly not a term in current use, its meaning is quite an uplifting one and more than deserving to make a comeback.

Looking for an extra scoop of literary fun?

Learn more with our Word of the day