|Words and prepositions for insults|
A list of various insults in Esperanto that I've found useful in things like translations and fiction. This is certainly not a complete list, and of course, anyone can make up their own insults too. For help on how to write casual (vulgar, low-brow, lower-class) speech in general in Esperanto, see my other page about dialects and socialects.
To insult someone, you simply use the normal form as in English (stultulo! = idiot!), but you can also make it more of an exclamation by using only the stem (stultul! = idiot!). Normally exclamations like "fek! shit, fuck!" and "ek! let's go, let's start!" don't have apostrophies, but when normal words are "slurred" then they do have them ("tia stultul' estas..." "that sort of idiot is..."), so keep that in mind. In general, the stems without an ending are used for things like exclamations and sound effects. However I've noticed that when translating comics, it's best to include the -o when the character is talking to another person who is a bit further away (implying "what an idiot!" or "that idiot over there...!") but when talking to their face right on front of them we can use only the stem if we want. There's no need to say the "you" in "you idiot" because it's obvious who is being talked about.
There's three major prefixes that can be used to help form a whole lot of insults:|
1. fi means "fie; shameful, immoral, non-noble", as in "fimagio = black magic" or "fi! - fie!" or "fikomercisto - swindler, conman, corrupt businessman". In general this simply adds force to insults. It can go attached in front of the thing (fikomercisto) or separately (fi komercisto) or as an adjective (fia komercisto). To say like "why, you...!" we can say "fia ci!" or something similar.2. "kvazaŭ - quasi, pseudo, semi-, as though, as if", as in "kvazaŭina - quasi-female (shemale, tranny, etc.)". 3. "mal - opposite (un-, non-, im-)", for example "malanĝela - "opposite-of-angelic; devilish". This can sometimes give a different flavour to the word, ex. with "ino = a female", the normal word for a male is "viro", but we can say "malino (opposite-of-female)" to somewhat further emphasize the difference between male and female. This can feel like if we were to say "you men are all pigs!" and stress "men". Not everyone will see them as at all different from each other, but some people will. Keep in mind that something which is insulting or humiliating in one country might not be in another. For example, saying "you monk!" doesn't even feel like an insult in English; pink is not only a colour for girls in Sweden and Japan; in Nordic countries beards are more like classy and elegant instead of only for hobos, drug addicts and pedophiles. Calling a guy a "stud" might be a huge insult because it's literally the male equivalent of "slut", (somehow in English we think "stud" is a compliment whereas "slut" is an insult...?). But of course there are still many things we can say that avoid those kinds of cultural differences.
People from the USA used to be very creative with insults. However in the past 20-30 years this has absolutely, completely died out. If you think that Americans are witty today, try watching some movies from the 1930's. The problem is that generic insults are always used nowadays, and this also bleeds into their Esperanto usage - they only insult with "fek! (shit! fuck!)" or "stultulo! (idiot!)" and can't think up anything else to say. It certainly makes reading bland!
So here I have collected some insults from earlier time periods, as examples to help stir the imagination:
— "he's only a habit" |
(I don't actually like him, but I'm with him/dating him because I'm used to it, that's all) — “he’ll wind up jerking sodas when he runs out of ideas”
(he will only be able to get a job at a fast-food restaurant, eventually) — “Say, what’s the name of that guy who built the monster he couldn’t stop?”
“Shake friends with his Aunt Emma”
(meaning ‘greet this one annoying guy’s annoying aunt, who is named Emma’) — “(Go) Outside. As long as they’ve got sidewalks, you’ve got a job.”
(telling a woman to leave, and saying that she's a slut/hooker) — “Is there anything I can do (to help)?”
“Yeah. See that window over there?”
“Take a running jump and I think you can make it.”
(go jump out the window and die and leave me alone) — “C’mon, breeze! And when ya go out that door, take the welcome sign off it.”
(leave! and don't come back!) — “Seeing all these girls gives me a lotta ideas.”
“Well don’t let them keep ya awake.”
(the second guy is joking/hinting that the first guy is going to masturbate or that he is a pervert) — "Previous writers had left Japanese grammar a chaos. Mr. Aston brought light and order into is every part. But most persons have neither time nor inclination to investigate every part." — "Numerous other instances of this most comprehensive word might be given, but the intelligent student will at once understand the full value of a word of so much significance and bury it deeply within the inmost cell of his penetrating brain." — "The more serious and scholarly man, who abounds in every club, is addicted to the monthly reviews, to the Times, to the Spectator; that kind of man is definitely stodgy and prides himself upon being sound. He is fond of memoirs, rather sodden accounts of aristocrats and politicians, of the dull, ordinary lives of dull, ordinary people; when he has done with the book it goes to the pulping machine, but some of the pulp gets into that man's brain." — An old insult for "dimestore novel" (pulp fiction, trashy novel) was "railway novel" because it "cannot hold the attention for more than the time that elapses between two railway stops".