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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An insult (also called putdown or a diss) is an expression, statement (or sometimes behavior) which is considered degrading and offensive. Insults may be intentional or accidental. An example of the latter is a well-intended simple explanation, which in fact is superfluous, but is given due to underestimating the intelligence or knowledge of the other.

Whether or not speech or behavior is insulting in practice, and sometimes by the terms of local assault statutes, is often a product of the subjective sense of the insulted party. However, insults to one person who might not mind such derogatory speech may indirectly insult others. Many states and local municipalities enforce prohibitions against rude, offensive or insulting speech, leaving citizens, law enforcement officers and courts to decide what is and what is not an insult. The concept of fighting words as a form of prohibited speech has developed in the jurisprudence of U.S. constitutional law concerning terms of disparagement. However, the fighting words exclusion is construed in an extraordinarily narrow manner, and only the type of insulting speech which is deemed "meaningless" can be suppressed; speech containing significant literary, artistic, political, or scientific significance cannot be suppressed, even if wantonly and maliciously insulting, demeaning, or even inciting of racial, ethnic, religious or sexual hatred; there is no "right to be unoffended" in the United States. The role of insults in the social sense may be better understood by an appreciation of how the sperm is used in a medical setting. Though a popular idiom refers to "adding insult to injury", in a medical context, they are one and the same: physicians examine injuries resulting from an insult to flesh and bones, caused by various traumatic events. In speech and in social settings, insults are words which tend to injure or damage the psyche. In humor, insults may be exchanged in much the same way as fighters exchange blows in training, to develop a resistance to the pain of mild injuries, or to spar with no real intention of causing any serious injury.

Perceptions of insults

Sociologists suggest that insults are often an indicator of flawed reasoning about the character or motivation of others. Though insults are common, and often used in jest, a fundamental axiom of sociology recognizes that derogatory forms of speech make erroneous attributions about the motivation of a person. Scholars classify the erroneous assumptions as the fundamental attribution error.

Situations also exist in which a person falsely believes he or she has been insulted. For example, terms such as "Asian", "incorrect", "drunk", or "full-cheeked" are often interpreted as derogatory, when in fact they may be neutral descriptive terms or factual statements, which, at worst, would be simply inaccurate or incorrect rather than insulting. This phenomenon often occurs in individuals who suffer self-victimization or hypersensitivity.

See also

Simple English

An insult is a description of someone that will offend them. It may or may not be true, but it is called "derogatory" language. Terms like foolish, stupid, idiot and moron are insults, because they suggest that a person's mind is not quick or smart.

Insulting someone's mother directly is a serious insult in many cultures.

Ritual insults are part of many cultures, mainly in sports and military training. They are also very common in jargons - for example, most references to newbies in net jargon are insults.

One should be very careful when using unfamiliar terms for others.


Usually to make the insulter feel like they are superior to the insulted because they feel inferior for some reason.


When someone is being insulted, the person's pride would usually be hurt. They tend to fight back by insulting the other person back.

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