by The Huffington Post
"You should be women and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so." Shakespeare employs this biting insult in "Macbeth" to establish the complete and utter repulsiveness of the three witches. Their "withered and wild" features cause Macbeth and Banquo to question if the sisters are even human beings.
"Methinks thou art a general offence, and every man should beat thee. I think thou wast created for men to breathe themselves upon you." In "All's Well That Ends Well," Lafeu hits infamous liar and coward Porolles with this blunt put-down after being finally fed up with his antics. Although, knowing Porolles and his mischievous ways, he probably deserved the jab.
"I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can, you are not for all markets." Beggars can't be choosers is the modern way of getting this point across, but Shakespeare's version is far more biting. "As You Like It" showcases Shakespeare's gift of saying the meanest of things in the most eloquent ways in this insult Rosalind doles out to Phebe.
"Thou art a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way." Possibly the most elaborate jab he has ever written, Shakespeare pulls out all the stops in "King Lear" when the Earl of Kent replies to Oswald's innocent question of, "What dost thou know me for?" with nearly every insult in the book. And if that verbal attack wasn't enough to put Oswald down, the Earl of Kent proceeds to physically beat him!
"I'll beat thee, but I should infect my hands." In Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens," protagonist Timon and his least favorite dinner companion, Apemantus, insult each other to no end in a verbal smack-down that lasts half of the scene. While Apemantus tries to rally with comebacks as cruel as, "A plague on thee! Thou are too bad to curse," it seems Timon reigns supreme with this precise one-liner.
"Away, you cut-purse rascal! you filthy bung, away! By this wine, I'll thrust my knife in your mouldy chaps, an you play the saucy cuttle with me. Away, you bottle-ale rascal! you basket-hilt stale juggler, you!" This put-down was said by prostitute Doll Tearsheet, who was notorious for having a sharp tongue, to Pistol in Act II of "Henry IV Part II."
"Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood." King Lear calls his daughter, Regan, these terrible names only to revoke his insult and promise not to punish her. Regardless of how fast he apologizes to her for his spiteful words, it's still a grade-A insult.”