1. giving or causing insult; characterized by affronting rudeness, insolence, etc.

verb (used with object)

  1. to treat or speak to insolently or with contemptuous rudeness; affront.
  2. to affect as an affront; offend or demean.
  3. Archaic. to attack; assault.

verb (used without object)

  1. Archaic. to behave with insolent triumph; exult contemptuously (usually followed by on, upon, or over).


  1. an insolent or contemptuously rude action or remark; affront.
  2. something having the effect of an affront: That book is an insult to one’s intelligence.
  3. Medicine/Medical.
    1. an injury or trauma.
    2. an agent that inflicts this.
  4. Archaic. an attack or assault.

verb (ɪnˈsʌlt) (tr)

  1. to treat, mention, or speak to rudely; offend; affront
  2. obsolete to assault; attack

noun (ˈɪnsʌlt)

  1. an offensive or contemptuous remark or action; affront; slight
  2. a person or thing producing the effect of an affrontsome television is an insult to intelligence
  3. med an injury or trauma
  4. add insult to injury to make an unfair or unacceptable situation even worse

c.1600 in the sense of “attack;” 1670s as “an act of insulting,” from Middle French insult (14c.) or directly from Late Latin insultus, from insilire (see insult (v.)). To add insult to injury translates Latin injuriae contumeliam addere.


1560s, “triumph over in an arrogant way,” from Middle French insulter (14c.) and directly from Latin insultare “to assail, to leap upon” (already used by Cicero in sense of “insult, scoff at, revile”), frequentative of insilire “leap at or upon,” from in- “on, at” (see in- (2)) + salire “to leap” (see salient (adj.)). Sense of “to verbally abuse, affront, assail with disrespect” is from 1610s. Related: Insulted; insulting.


  1. A bodily injury, irritation, or trauma.

see add insult to injury.

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