from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To treat with gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness. See Synonyms at offend.
  • transitive v. To affront or demean: an absurd speech that insulted the intelligence of the audience.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To make an attack on.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To behave arrogantly.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To give offense; offend: a speech that was intended to insult.
  • n. An offensive action or remark.
  • n. Medicine A bodily injury, irritation, or trauma.
  • n. Something that causes bodily injury, irritation, or trauma: "the middle of the Bronx, buffeted and poisoned by the worst environmental insults that urban America can dish out” ( William K. Stevens).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An action or form of speech deliberately intended to be rude.
  • n. Anything that causes offence/offense by being of an unacceptable quality.
  • n. Something causing disease or injury to the body or bodily processes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of leaping on; onset; attack.
  • n. Gross abuse offered to another, either by word or act; an act or speech of insolence or contempt; a deprecatory remark; an affront; an indignity.
  • n. An injury to an organism; trauma.
  • intransitive v. To leap or jump.
  • intransitive v. To behave with insolence; to exult.
  • transitive v. To leap or trample upon; to make a sudden onset upon.
  • transitive v. To treat with abuse, insolence, indignity, or contempt, by word or action; to abuse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To leap upon; specifically, to make a sudden, open, and bold attack upon; attack in a summary manner, and without recourse to the usual forms of war.
  • To offer an indignity to; treat contemptuously, ignominiously, or insolently, either by speech or by action; manifest scorn or contempt for.
  • To leap or jump.
  • To behave with insolent triumph; exult contemptuously: with on, upon, or over.
  • In pathology, to injure; inflict traumatism upon.
  • n. The act of leaping on anything.
  • n. An assault; a summary assault; an attack.
  • n. An affront, or a hurt inflicted upon one's self-respect or sensibility; an action or utterance designed to wound one's feelings or ignominiously assail one's self-respect; a manifestation of insolence or contempt intended to provoke resentment; an indignity.
  • n. Contemptuous treatment; outrage.
  • n. In pathology, external violence which causes a lesion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. treat, mention, or speak to rudely
  • n. a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
  • n. a deliberately offensive act or something producing the effect of deliberate disrespect


French insulter, from Old French, to assault, from Latin īnsultāre, to leap at, insult, frequentative of īnsilīre, to leap upon : in-, on; see in-2 + salīre, to leap; see sel- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin insultāre ("to jump at, insult"), ultimately from salīre ("to jump"). (Wiktionary)



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