Olde Timey Insults

Is it that English just doesn’t have the words to describe that heinous, foul-souled beast who works in the cubicle next to you? Or perhaps, that you just can’t find the word that truly encompasses the terribly horrible nature of the woman down the street? Well, look no further, because it could be that you now know exactly what to call your nephew the next time you see him — and English may actually have the word to describe it! Let’s take a hop and a skip back in history to some Olde Timey Insults. These are taken from Forgotten English III’s Long Lost Insults by Knowledge Cards. They’re taken from old dictionaries, and, naturally, I don’t claim to hold the copywright on any of them.


A foolish person fond of disrupting. –John Mactaggart, Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopaedia, 1824.


One of those sneaks that makes a practice of wtching the movements, etc, of sweethearts on their nightly walks, and if any impropriety is witnessed, demanding hush-money to keep the matter secret. -Joseph Wright, English Dialect Dictionary, 1896-1905.


This proverbial phrase was commonly addressed to any clownish fellow, unacquainted with the rules of good society. –James Halliwell, Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855.


A poor, ill dressed person; an object of pity or contempt. –Sidney Addy, Sheffield Glossary of Words, 1888.


A chatterer, gossip, scandal-monger; a woman who goes from house to house dispensing news. –A. Benoni Evans, Leicestershire Words, Phrases, and Proverbs, 1881.

1800s Engraving


An idle and inquisitive person who stands staring for prolonged periods at anything out of the common. –Joseph Wright, English Dialect Dictionary, 1896-1905.


Usually applied to one whose stupid conduct results in awkward mistakes. –C. Clough Robinson, Dialect of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876.


A big, fat, dirty person; applied chiefly to women, and implying tawdriness and ungracefulness. –John Jamieson, Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808.


A spoilt child. –Thomas Wright, Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English, 1857.


An ill-natured person. –C. Clough Robinson, Glossary of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876.


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George Inness: A Master of Atmosphere

Inness Landscape

With a similar style to, but a lot more recognition than Thomas Aquinas Daly, George Inness falls under my category of Favourite Painters. Why? Because it’s all about atmosphere. Now, those of you who read my post about Thomas Aquinas Daly should be experts on atmosphere and composition, and the paintings that you see here on Inness should be screaming with similar technique.

Inness was a 19th Century painter, born in New York State and died in Scotland. He painted vast portraits of the beauty of the American landscape and his more mature works helped to define the Tonalist movement. Tonalism was a late 19th century artistic (American) movement that was part of the big Impressionist Scheme, where artists used fog, either grey or with a colour, to give a feeling or emotion, or even tone to a painting.
Inness Painting
So as we look at Inness’ works, we can keep in mind this Tonalist movement and how he influenced it (and how Tonalism plays into greater Impressionism, which favours the feeling of an experience that the painting is trying to describe over the photographic realism and detail traditionally preferred). Inness often heavily exaggerated colours, or skewed colour schemes to portray idyllic landscapes. This was a large factor in why he was so popular with expansionists.

Inness Painting
If you look at the painting I’ve placed right above this text, then you can see this portrayed perfectly. The sky is an unnatural grapefruit red, the greens of the ground masked by umber browns, and what greens are shown are deeply red. The trees are vague, nebulous suggestions of dark trees with backlighting. But we, as observers, perceive it as a sunset. A soft, warm sunset. InnessĀ  manipulates our perception of the landscape. In a good way.

Inness Painting


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