• synonyms


[verb in-suhlt; noun in-suhlt]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to treat or speak to insolently or with contemptuous rudeness; affront.
  2. to affect as an affront; offend or demean.
  3. Archaic. to attack; assault.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Archaic. to behave with insolent triumph; exult contemptuously (usually followed by on, upon, or over).
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  1. an insolent or contemptuously rude action or remark; affront.
  2. something having the effect of an affront: That book is an insult to one's intelligence.
  3. Medicine/Medical.
    1. an injury or trauma.
    2. an agent that inflicts this.
  4. Archaic. an attack or assault.
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Origin of insult

1560–70; < Latin insultāre to jump on, insult, equivalent to in- in-2 + -sultāre, combining form of saltāre to jump; see saltant
Related formsin·sult·a·ble, adjectivein·sult·er, nounpre·in·sult, verb (used with object)qua·si-in·sult·ed, adjectiveun·in·sult·a·ble, adjectiveun·in·sult·ed, adjective

Synonyms for insult

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1. offend, scorn, injure, abuse. 5. offense, outrage. Insult, indignity, affront, slight imply an act that injures another's honor, self-respect, etc. Insult implies such insolence of speech or manner as deeply humiliates or wounds one's feelings and arouses to anger. Indignity is especially used of inconsiderate, contemptuous treatment toward one entitled to respect. Affront implies open disrespect or offense shown, as it were, to the face. Slight may imply inadvertent indifference or disregard, which may also indicate ill-concealed contempt.

Antonyms for insult

1, 5. compliment.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for insult

shame, disgrace, affront, slight, blasphemy, taunt, indignity, invective, slap, disrespect, put-down, slander, abuse, snub, libel, outrage, scorn, contempt, annoy, curse

Examples from the Web for insult

Contemporary Examples of insult

Historical Examples of insult

  • He would not have cared half so much for any insult to himself.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • They shall find out that they cannot insult me with impunity.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • It won't be any safer to insult me now than it was yesterday.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Patience will be the fittest return I can make to such an insult.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I met only with insult for this—Bella has not a feeling heart.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for insult


verb (ɪnˈsʌlt) (tr)
  1. to treat, mention, or speak to rudely; offend; affront
  2. obsolete to assault; attack
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noun (ˈɪnsʌlt)
  1. an offensive or contemptuous remark or action; affront; slight
  2. a person or thing producing the effect of an affrontsome television is an insult to intelligence
  3. med an injury or trauma
  4. add insult to injury to make an unfair or unacceptable situation even worse
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Derived Formsinsulter, noun

Word Origin for insult

C16: from Latin insultāre to jump upon, from in- ² + saltāre to jump
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for insult


1560s, "triumph over in an arrogant way," from Middle French insulter (14c.) and directly from Latin insultare "to assail, to leap upon" (already used by Cicero in sense of "insult, scoff at, revile"), frequentative of insilire "leap at or upon," from in- "on, at" (see in- (2)) + salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Sense of "to verbally abuse, affront, assail with disrespect" is from 1610s. Related: Insulted; insulting.

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c.1600 in the sense of "attack;" 1670s as "an act of insulting," from Middle French insult (14c.) or directly from Late Latin insultus, from insilire (see insult (v.)). To add insult to injury translates Latin injuriae contumeliam addere.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

insult in Medicine


  1. A bodily injury, irritation, or trauma.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with insult


see add insult to injury.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.