Definition of insult in English:

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Pronunciation: /inˈsəlt/
[with object]
Speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse: you’re insulting the woman I love
More example sentences
  • They were also said to be regularly insulted and physically abused by the owners.
  • Carl is insulted, humiliated and ignored on a regular basis and yet keeps coming back for more.
  • So is there any hope that the broadcasters will stop insulting our intelligence?
abuse, be rude to, slight, disparage, discredit, libel, slander, malign, defame, denigrate, cast aspersions on, call someone names, put someone down;
offend, affront, hurt, humiliate, wound
informal badmouth, dis
formal derogate, calumniate
rare asperse
abusive, rude, offensive, disparaging, belittling, derogatory, deprecatory, disrespectful, uncomplimentary, pejorative;
disdainful, derisive, scornful, contemptuous;
defamatory, slanderous, libelous, scurrilous, blasphemous
informal bitchy, catty, snide


Pronunciation: /ˈinˌsəlt/
1A disrespectful or scornfully abusive remark or action: he hurled insults at us he saw the book as a deliberate insult to the Church
More example sentences
  • You know your comment about there being more jobs in America then ever is a real stupid remark and an insult to hourly workers of America.
  • My remarks were not an insult to decent youths or their parents.
  • With respect, this remark is an insult to the intelligence of your readers.
abusive remark, jibe, affront, slight, barb, slur, indignity;
injury, libel, slander, defamation;
abuse, disparagement, aspersions
informal dig, crack, put-down, slap in the face, kick in the teeth, cheap shot, low blow, smack talk
1.1A thing so worthless or contemptible as to be offensive: the present offer is an absolute insult
More example sentences
  • This Minister has introduced a bill that is an absolute insult to the cause he should be serving.
  • He said the charity's grant was an insult to his mother, who had tirelessly raised funds for it before her death.
  • The distraught parents of Adele, who died last year, said the fine was an ‘absolute insult to us and to the memory of Adele’.
2 Medicine An event or occurrence that causes damage to a tissue or organ: the movement of the bone causes a severe tissue insult
More example sentences
  • For this reason, various environmental insults that damage intestinal tissues also lower the levels of lactase.
  • Although a second traumatic event may serve as abreaction or a cure for some dissociative amnesic states, this seems unlikely in the event of two severe neurological insults.
  • Tissues exposed to one insult can develop tolerance to a subsequent injury.


add insult to injury

Act in a way that makes a bad or displeasing situation worse.
Example sentences
  • And it's not just the money - bad pay just adds insult to injury.
  • Mixing your drinks adds insult to injury and increases the amount of toxins you have to cope with.
  • It is already hard enough to sit in a traffic jam without Begg wishing to add insult to injury by asking motorists to pay extra for the inconvenience.



Example sentences
  • Agreed, and I must include myself in that category of petty insulters.
  • The experience has provided the company with a quick lesson in the tricky world of chasing online insulters.
  • If you deflect it with humor, you allow the insulter to see how juvenile such commentary can be.


Mid 16th century (as a verb in the sense 'exult, act arrogantly'): from Latin insultare 'jump or trample on', from in- 'on' + saltare, from salire 'to leap'. The noun (in the early 17th century denoting an attack) is from French insulte or ecclesiastical Latin insultus. The main current senses date from the 17th century, the medical use dating from the early 20th century.

  • An insult was originally an attack or assault, especially a military one. Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) in his poem Marmion wrote: ‘Many a rude tower and rampart there / Repelled the insult of the air.’ The word goes back to Latin insultare ‘to jump or leap upon’. The phrase to add insult to injury comes from the 1748 play The Foundling by Edmund Moore.

Words that rhyme with insult

consult, cult, exult, indult, penult, result, ult

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·sult

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