Definitions

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.
  • 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.
  • intransitive v. To leap or jump.
  • intransitive v. To behave with insolence; to exult.

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.
  • 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.
  • In pathology, to injure; inflict traumatism upon.
  • 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

Etymologies

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

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin insultāre ("to jump at, insult"), ultimately from salīre ("to jump").

Examples

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