When Insults Had Class

These glorious insults are from an era before the English language was boiled down to 4-letter words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:

She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison."

He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."


A member of Parliament to Disraeli:

"Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."

"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."


"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr


"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill


"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."  Clarence Darrow


"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).


"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain


"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.." - Oscar Wilde


"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second.... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.


"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop


"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb


"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson


"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating


"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand


"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West


"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.." - Oscar Wilde


"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)


"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder


"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx