Lost in translation: British insults facing extinction

Lost in translation: British insults facing extinction.

Lost in translation: British insults facing extinction. Image: Casimiro PT / Shutterstock.com

A recent poll suggests that some beloved British insults are at risk of fading away, with many young people appearing unaware of their meanings.

The survey, which asked 2,000 individuals about their familiarity with various insults, revealed that some terms like “toss pot” and “toe rag” are falling out of usage, with over a third of respondents having never heard of them.

Among the lesser-known insults, “lummox” topped the list, leaving 62 per cent of people under 28 puzzled.

Similarly, terms like “blighter” and “ninny” stumped over half of young respondents.

Even classic insults like “plonker” from the popular TV show Only Fools and Horses are losing their impact, with a quarter of the younger generation unfamiliar with the term.

Despite their declining usage, many of these insults are relatively mild, with only one in five respondents expressing offence at being called a “plonker” or “pillock.”

Harriet Scott, CEO of Perspectus Global, noted, “Language changes, evolves, and moves on. Our research shows that calling someone a plonker or a prat is no longer a fashionable way to insult them.”

The list of British insults that younger people are unfamiliar with includes “lummox,” “bampot,” “blighter,” “ninny,” “cad,” “drip,” “tosspot,” “toe rag,” “pillock,” “plonker,” “nitwit,” “prat,” “scallywag,” “git,” and “numpty.”

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Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.