Break all your legs.

Hailey: Today we’re performing our play in front of the school.

me:  McBeth?

Hailey:  MOM.  YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY THAT WORD.

me:  Which word?  McBeth?

Hailey:  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  It’s considered very bad luck to say the name of that play.  It’s worse than saying “Good luck.”  You’re supposed to say “The Scottish play.”

me:  But you say “McBeth” in the play over and over.  He’s like the main dude.

Hailey:  OMG STOP SAYING IT.  And it’s fine to say in the play.  Just not before.  And it’s especially unlucky to say the witches lines.

me:  YOU ARE LITERALLY THE WITCH IN MCBETH.  I’ve heard you practice those lines a dozen times.

Hailey: You’re just saying the name now to mess with me.

me: I am but I’m not spelling it correctly in my head so I don’t think it counts.  Also, I just looked it up and says that if you do say “McBeth” you can fix the curse by going outside the place where it’ll be preformed, spinning around three times, spitting and uttering a vulgar Shakespearean insult.

Hailey:  That can’t possibly be right.

me:  That’s what it says.  If you want I can spin and spit and yell profanity outside your school but I think I have to do it for each time I said “McBeth” so it’s going to take me awhile.  Worst exercise routine ever.

Hailey:  You know what?  It’s fine.

me:  I’ll do it.  “THOU ART A RUBBISH BANDWAGON!  ABORTIVE BULL’S-PIZZLE!  THOU LOATHSOME SCURVY DOG!”  Wait…that last one turned piratey.  I’ve gotta do some research.

Hailey: Please don’t do that in front of my school.

me:  I’m pretty good at it.

Hailey:  Weirdly so.

me:  Fine.  Break all your legs, my little witch.

Hailey:  Break all your arms, you big weirdo.

me:  Fair enough.

PS. I found a Shakespearean insult generator in case you’re looking to expand your repertoire:

121 replies. read them below or add one

  1. Thou yeasty rump-fed puttock does have a ring to it.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. She is definitely your daughter. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. How did Shakespear ever even advertise his plays? I mean, if he couldn’t even say the name? My guess is that he told people to come and see some sex scenes where a guy delivers pizza and the housewife is really horny. That would work.

    Liked by 9 people

    Nancy recently posted You Are Entitled.

  4. Tottering Full-gorged Bun-bailey!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. That is so fun.

    Like

  6. Never pass up an opportunity to call someone yeasty.

    Liked by 2 people

    actualconversationswithmyhusband recently posted I Believe In You!.

  7. Embarrassing your children is one of the great benefits of motherhood. You nailed it Jenny!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. 8
    ocularnervosa

    I’m pretty sure you have to say McBeth in the theater. In front of a school just means you’ll get a B on your next English paper.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. She’s right, please wish her all the broken legs in the Scottish Play.
    Also, you’re raising her right. She’s going to grow up to be amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Coming from a theatre family, the actor episode of Blackadder was always one of my favorites (^_^)

    Liked by 12 people

  11. You have to be IN the theater for saying Big Mac Beth to be bad luck. But we’re doing a play here at school, so I had to disguise the name as I type this. Tottering Shard-borne pumpion sounds kind of classy. Unless pumpion is something bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    becomingcliche recently posted The One Where God Smacked Me Upside the Head.

  12. It doesn’t count if you’re not spelling it right in your head. Mcbeth is like the fast version of Macbeth. I rule that the curse is lifted.

    Like

  13. I was an English Lit major and in the building where all of my English classes took place, we had a bulletin board with a daily “Shakespearean Insult” on it. It made me chuckle almost every time.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I think you are totally safe because you said McBeth, not MacBeth, so you get a pass. No need for Shakespearean insult curse-breaking routine.

    Like

  15. Glad they’re indoctrinating them young. Reminds me: I need to add the Scottish play to our list of curse words…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We would have Shakespearean insult day when we started reading Macbeth. The ones the kids made up were always the best ones. And I have read Macbeth more times than I care to count. My cat is named Spot to placate my husband (Data— Star Trek) but also so I could say, “Out. Damn spot!”

    Liked by 2 people

    recently posted I need help. Again..

  17. I’m never using modern insults again!

    Like

  18. Is saying McBeth the same as writing Dr. Who instead of Doctor Who? I get yelled at for that a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    theycallmetater recently posted Some Short Wedneday Thoughts.

  19. Horrible terrible luck to Hailey (right?) And I love the insult generator. My kid is going to think I’m pretty weird when he gets home from school. I can’t wait.

    Like

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  20. My favorite insult from the Bard: “I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.”
    ‘Tis the wickedest of burns.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Hey, I know this isn’t the right post for this comment, but I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do. I struggle with anxiety, and have fought all sorts of battles with it throughout my life. And today is the biggest battle I’ve ever lost. I travelled across the country to go to a grad school interview, but I couldn’t sleep the whole night before and I kept tossing my cookies and I didn’t make it. I’ve pushed through and won much bigger battles than this, and I’ve lost all sorts of little battles, but this is the biggest failure I’ve ever had with my anxiety. I’ve been lying in my bed in my hotel room reading through your blog some more because I knew it would make me feel better. Thanks for helping to foster a community where I can find others who understand, and I can share this little bit of my life. Though today is rough, I know I’ll keep pushing to come out on top in future battles. Thank you.

    (I am sending you so much love. You are not alone. You’ve got this. ~ Jenny)

    Liked by 8 people

  22. I love you!

    Like

  23. ‘S only unlucky inside the actual theatre where it will be performed. Otherwise fine. That’s what my dramatic arts doctorate cousin is telling me, anyhow.

    Like

  24. Theatre person here. She’s 100% right. You don’t say the lines or the title or name of the character (or Lady M’s full name) if you’re in a theatre UNLESS you are actually doing the play. It got so ingrained in me that I don’t say the name of The Scottish Play ever and Lady M is only ever Lady M. And if you do make that mistake, you go outside, spin three times, spit through your fingers, curse, and then ask to be let back in. At least that’s the whole thing I was taught.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. 25
    Debra Crosby

    I can’t believe no one has yet said, “Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” The hags were my faves.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I was a Theatre major in college, I studied Shakespeare. I had no idea this was a thing but I googled and sure enough….

    Like

  27. Oh man, when I worked in theater I had a whole theory built around “Break a Leg” which included summoning bad luck which somehow reversed into good luck. I had a little shrine that included South Park’s Kenny and pennies left tails up.

    Liked by 2 people

    Wolf of Words recently posted Media Update 3/1/18.

  28. OMG. I have a book that creates Shakespearean insults. It’s the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Let’s invent some new superstitions. Like you can’t say “Out, damned spot” or the dog will tinkle on the carpet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Janet Coburn recently posted School Shootings and the Tipping Point.

  30. Tell her too relax…the curse is only when you are actually in a theater or performance space. Most actors don’t say it anywhere though, just so they don’t slip up. And yes, I have made people go outside, spin, spot, and curse Bacchus they said it.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I hate trying to type and make corrections on my phone. It just doesn’t work. Probably because someone said Macbeth…

    Like

  32. 32
    Karen Duethman

    I like fawning elf-skinned flapdragon!

    Liked by 2 people

  33. The play and it’s curse figures heavily into the plot of “Everything You Want Me to Be” by Mindy Mejia. I had never heard of it until this book.

    Like

  34. I love this. I’m going to use some of those.

    Like

  35. Yeah, but you have to spin widdershins. That’s counterclockwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. wow. Shakespeare really had a dirty mind. just glancing at the generator, i came up with “Thou cockered fully gorged malt worm” is it just me?…… shit.

    Like

  37. You’re fine. It’s only bad luck to say Macbeth in a theatre when it isn’t being staged. However, you should probably do Hailey a favor and do the spinning cursing spitting thing outside the school just in case. It’ll help build her character 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  38. to # 21 anonymous: YOU DID NOT LOSE. i see someone that traveled across the country, that tried to do battle & will continue to try to do battle. sounds pretty fucking amazing to me…

    Liked by 4 people

  39. What good are we as parents if we don’t embarrass our teenagers once in a while? I’ve long been in love with Shakespearean insults, since I had to study his works so much in college. Also, on a side note, his complete works bound into one large textbook make a really effective weapon when applied to the back of a cheating boyfriend’s head. Not that I would know anything about that. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    Kat recently posted Moody Tuesday.

  40. (shh! but it’s Macbeth, not McBeth)

    Like

  41. Dear Lovely Anonymous Person in post #21: I’m sending you a virtual hug of support. Many of us have been where you are. And we’re movin’, groovin’, and hanging in there, doing battle with anxiety one day at a time. You are loved.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. The Blackadder skit someone else embedded in the comments is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions the Scottish play. Break a leg.

    Liked by 1 person

    Gary recently posted Sous vide yummy scotch fillet steak.

  43. Someone brought up that list at band practice once. Band practice was never so unproductive before or since. Has your daughter always been superstitious?

    Like

  44. I love those curses! All organized in 3 columns so I can mix and match. I’ll have enough to insult darn near everyone I know or ever met, or ever hope to meet. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  45. I’ve been to a matinee performance of that play, and at great risk of sounding like an uncultured cretin (or errant fool-born clotpole, if I am to use the insult generator)?

    Best. Nap. Ever.

    Liked by 2 people

    OwnLessDoMore.us recently posted At long last, we have new flooring. Now let’s hope it lasts a long time..

  46. 46
    Rowan Maia Peacock

    Embarrassing our offspring – one of life’s great pleasures.

    Like

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  47. 47
    Brittany Nelson

    ….. my mother just used to tell me go break a bone when she put bad juju on a play I was preforming in… then again any mother who says that has an awesome sense of humor and should get a mother of the year award

    Like

  48. If you’re spelling it wrong in your head, McBeth becomes Irish and therefore the curse doesn’t apply. Or is much worse.

    Like

  49. Appropos of nothing, do you&she know that the superstition started along with a rumor that Shakespeare interviewed actual accused witches in jail –and so the lines the weird sisters are speaking include pieces of actual black magic spells.
    Or so I was told.

    Like

  50. So funny story which is slightly relevant, from a historical article I read: “Break a leg” did not actually mean “shatter your femur” back in ye Olde Dayes. Filler bands, performers, etc were hired to come in and perform for intros and intermissions during a play. Theatres would hire more than needed, in case of long delays (like if an actor genuinely broke a leg & the understudy had to prep). If the performer made it past side line of the stage – known as the LEG line – and onto the main stage, they got paid for the evening. If they didn’t make it past or “break” the line, they just got to hang out with a bunch of other performers back stage and maybe watch the show and went home broke. So when wishing each other “Break a leg” they actually meant “I hope you get paid tonight.”

    Given the difficulty artists of any time have in getting paid to do their thing, not much has changed, eh?

    Liked by 4 people

  51. #21 Be sure and let the interviewers know what happened. Be brief and honest, and they will probably give you another interview time.

    Liked by 4 people

  52. Now I am expecting a video of you spinning, spitting, and muttering 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  53. I bought my daughter a poster of Shakespearean insults for Christmas. Perfect gift for a theatre student with a potty-mouth (I’m so proud).

    Liked by 1 person

  54. My 6th grade English teacher gave us that insult generator…

    Like

  55. Always call it ‘the Scottish Play’.

    Liked by 2 people

  56. Ruttish full-gorged barnacle 😂

    Like

  57. “zyzzyva | March 1, 2018 at 11:22 am”

    Damnit, I even skimmed through to see if someone had posted that already.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. Fop-doodle! Canker blossom!

    Liked by 1 person

  59. I played MacBeth IN the play in high school.
    Which honestly, explains the last 30 years of my life.

    Like

  60. Huh I guess they haven’t gotten to the superstition portion of the curriculum at her school. Cause yeah, you’re right. There are several ways to cleanse yourself of the curse. (oh don’t forget that some believe the witches spells are real.) Hope she doesn’t whistle in the theater either!

    Like

  61. It’s like the WORST luck to say the name of THAT play indoors. I took theater in college and they did a one-act version of it for a spring competition. SOMEBODY in that theater said THAT name and not only did all the lights go out mysteriously but one of the set pieces broke in a weird way.

    Liked by 1 person

    mommatrek recently posted Having trouble adulting today.

  62. Awww, I snoozed and loozed on posting the Blackadder connection! 😉

    I know that “THE PLAY” will go very well! Thanks for the Shakespearian Insult Chart. I plan to print it out and bring it with me the next time I get into the car.

    Like

  63. My daughter was in a play called “Don’t Say Macbeth,” all about the curse of that play and how people keep dying and theaters get burned down and general badness ensues. In order to do the play, they had to both SAY Macbeth over and over, AND explain exactly why you can never say it in a theater and how exactly to spit in the back alley if you should accidentally say it. So bizarre.

    Like

  64. I taught Art Education on a shoestring budget so I was a ‘dumpster diving pro’ especially when a tile, leather, photography, yarn etc. store was closing. One day in town I was going ‘diving’ at a photography store (with lots of frames in the dumpster) and my daughter begged me not to do it as it was near the main street. After we ‘discussed’ which had and glasses disguise I should wear? She exclaimed, “OKAY MOM, just don’t let anyone see you!!!” And, mission accomplished!

    Liked by 1 person

  65. Poor Haley….LOL! Break a leg…or something…

    Like

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  66. 66
    Cynthia Turner

    Life isn’t worth a hoot if you can’t drive your children nuts ( or mortify then in front of the school).

    Like

  67. There are some truly bizarre film versions of Macbeth. My favourite is still the Roman Polanski version. Unsurprisingly, there’s nudity. Favourite line from a Macbeth spoof is when MacDuff says “Ach, Macbeth, yer arse is out the windee ” as he decapitates him and boots his head out the window. It’s a fun play.

    Like

    mydangblog recently posted My Week 179: Keynotes, Plants Vs. Babies, and Dog Olympics.

  68. I know several yeasty weather-bitten flap-dragons and at LEAST one gorbellied ill-breeding flirt-gill. I mean, if I had a nickle for every….

    Liked by 3 people

    DayLeeFix recently posted Tattle Tits.

  69. It’s bad luck to say Macbeth in a theatre. I think you’re ok in your own home, but y’know, better safe than sorry.

    Related: I once said it in a theatre and forgot to go outside and spin around. LATER THAT DAY, we had an incident with the rigging in said theatre, broke the hell out of the fly rails, and set off the fire system. Don’t mess with the curse.

    Liked by 2 people

  70. O. Thank you! I am still laughing outloud.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. I was Lady The Scottish Play in 4th grade and had to say “Out, damn spot!” in front of real people and everything, on stage. I hadn’t yet grown into my potty mouth, so I was really nervous. Not anymore, though! I really want to be interviewed on “Inside the Actor’s Studio” with that dude that asks you “the five questions” so I can tell the world, ON CAMERA, that my favorite curse word is actually a phrase: Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck!

    … I do also love your non-cursing, non-Shakespearean insults, too. I have proclaimed a small few number of people real dickwhistle douchecanoe twatjuices. Vulgar, but now with Zero Fucks! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    emelle28 recently posted What Have You (I) Done For Me Lately? Oooh, ooohooh, oooh, Yeah!.

  72. Everybody’s posting Black Adder, but all I can think of is The Producers: https://youtu.be/y1idJ-dkhXg

    Like

  73. You are a sick and twisted individual. I am so glad I follow you! Lead on McDuff!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  74. I would curse break this with with the classic ” Your mother was a hamster and you father smelt of Elderberries!”

    Liked by 1 person

  75. Yeasty tickle-brained wagtail. I’m saving that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. You had me going with that misspelling! Relieved now.

    Like

  77. “Thou art a general offense and every man should beat thee.” Right after my divorce, I started every conversation with my Ex with these words. He didn’t understand it though so it was less fun than I thought it was going to be.

    Liked by 2 people

    Mrs. Completely recently posted Who’s In Charge Around Here, Anyway?.

  78. Holy Shitsnacks! Which witch is she playing in Macbeth? I JUST did my last show as Hecate in my college theatre this past Sunday!!! It was sooooo much fun! My director told me (at the auditions) that normally the scene with Hecate’s monologue is cut from stage productions for time reasons, but I auditioned with it anyway and he decided to keep the scene. I am so grateful. It was a BLAST! And garnered us several spontaneous standing ovations. Which I had never seen happen during a college/community theatre production before. Please post Hailey’s part somewhere where I can watch it. Please, please please!

    We set Macbeth in a post-apocalyptic USA (unspecified time in the future) where men had basically destroyed the world as we know it and women had risen to power. So Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Macduff, Banquo, pretty much all the principal characters were portrayed by females. Except the three weird sisters (witches one, two and three) who were played by males.

    Like

  79. Just started Macbeth in class. Have a kid who won’t shut up about the damned curse. YOU’RE NOT IN THE THEATE, BUDDY! Using the Patrick Stewart wonderfully weird and bloody film version. https://possumscatsthingsgnawingatme.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/fine-dining/

    Like

  80. 80
    Susan Folk Dobie

    I don’t know why my last comment (#78) posted as anonymous. Let me see if I can fix that…

    Susan Folk Dobie
    Louisburg College, Class of ’93

    Like

  81. Can someone make a ‘generator’ for the curse names? Like your Church of Bloggess titles? Thank you.

    Like

  82. Macbeth! Macbeth! Maaaccxbeetthh!!!

    Like

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  83. Too funny! I bet there’s a lot of laughter in your house!

    Like

  84. Thou rank hasty-witted codpiece. Incase you can’t help yourself and say it 12 more times.

    Like

  85. It’s okay, Hailey. You can say MacBeth all you like, just not inside the theater. Inside the theater it is always “The Scottish play.”

    Like

  86. To #21- my favorite journal exercise is to write a list of “what went right today.” It’s always longer than I expect it to be and it always leaves me smiling and feeling like I fit in the world.
    Look at your list of all the things you did right-getting the interview, booking the trip and hotel, getting there on time. Think of this as your reconnaissance maneuver. You had the courage to put yourself in the cockpit. Now you know the lay of the land. I have a feeling that your next interview, whether it’s with this school or another one, is going to feel a lot smoother.
    I’ve also read that raising arms above our heads as high as they’ll go in a V for Victory sends feel-good chemicals to the brain, so I full-commit do that too. It sure feels good and I usually give a shout or even just a big YES.

    Liked by 1 person

  87. Uncommon Goods sells a Shakespearean insult poster for emergencies.

    Like

  88. Hailey’s right, but the curse is, it’s bad luck to say it in a theater, I think.
    We used to always call McDonald’s “the Scottish restaurant” when we didn’t want our kids knowing we were talking about McDonald’s (I don’t know why we would be talking about McDonalds, but we did). Now I wonder if it’s bad luck to mention the Scottish play in the Scottish restaurant, and if it mitigates the bad luck if you have a mouthful of fries when you do …

    Like

  89. To Anonymous #21- come join us at the “Bloggess Pals” facebook group on fb! Everyone there gives lots of hugs and “spoons” as needed. It is a safe place.

    Like

  90. Just reading that word, even misspelled, gives me the wiggins. #TheatreProblems

    Like

  91. For those of us who need to vent in re our president, add “orange-faced or orange-haired” to column 2 and have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  92. Oh my goodness!!! Have you seen “The Dresser”?!? You have to see it! Then you can teach Hailey to say “Piss pots!” which I personally took great pleasure in as a kid!

    Break all the legs!!

    Like

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  93. Omg that’s amazing. In 9th grade my teacher gave us that same sheet and our first assignment was to insult each other in Elizabethan. My friends and I still do it sometimes today.

    Like

  94. Haha your posts always crack me up, no matter what you write about. It’s a real gift of yours!

    I’d also like to invite you, and everyone reading this, to a challenge of ‘A week without social media’. It’s pretty self-explanatory I guess but you can check out my latest post and if you join me and decide to write about it, I’d be thrilled 🙂

    Like

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  95. Yeasty sheep-biting haggard is nine kinds of awesome

    Like

  96. It definitely doesn’t count if you are spelling it differently in your head. Kind of like crossing your fingers when you are saying something that may only be a little true

    Like

  97. 98
    Susan Dobie

    Re: comments 78 and 80:
    In changing a few lines to reflect the gender change, I was disappointed the Director wouldn’t allow me to change “beldams as you are” to “tiny pizzles without air.” I doth still protest. And it rhymed better as well.

    How did Hailey’s play go?

    Like

  98. 99
    Another Jenny

    So Hamilton obsessed that every time I hear or read anything about the Scottish play, I think of “Take A Break” so many references woven in.

    Like

  99. 100
    Anonymous

    Macbeth is one of my favourite plays! Definitely in the top 5, anyway!

    Like

  100. 101
    Catherine

    I knew I wouldn’t be the first to go to the Blackadder piece but I love it so much I just had to pile on. If you haven’t already, watch the whole episode with Haley. She will get valuable acting lessons from those thespians!

    Like

  101. Well done on the Blackadder references!

    Like

  102. I thought it was only bad to say “McBeth” when you’re back stage. You’re also not supposed to hold hands for the entire reciting of the witches curse. That play has more superstition around it than any other I’ve heard of.

    Like

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  103. See, this is exactly why I’ve been spayed and neutered. I just can’t keep up with the rules. Ugh.

    Like

  104. Arg. Macbeth is 1000% NOT CURSED. Not cursed! There’s no record of any curse before the 1930s. Macbeth was written in 1606-ish. So like, what….the curse just waited ~300 years to show up? If you’re interested in the mythology surrounding the curse, check out Anecdotal Shakespeare by Paul Menzer (2015). It’s a fabulous (and funny!) read.

    Like

  105. Thanks for the laugh on an otherwise gloomy day. 🙂

    Like

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  106. I think the superstition only applies if you’re actually inside the theater. (At least that’s what I heard, so totally not fake news coming from a random internet commenter). Tell her you can say the “M” word outside of it. 🙂

    Like

  107. Not quite as highbrow as Blackadder, but still amusing:

    Like

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  108. 109
    Anonymous

    True story: In college someone was going on and on backstage about how he did not believe in superstition and he not only said MacBeth a bunch of times he wrote it on a blackboard. Then he literally fell through the stage.

    Like

  109. Anytime you can insult someone and sound fancy AF is an opportunity that should never be passed up.

    Like

    The Midnight Goose recently posted Let That Shit Go.

  110. 111
    Anonymous

    4 people,thanks for the article post.Really thank you! Great.

    Like

  111. Guys, try out http://sodabooster.com/ I got free Candy Crush Soda Saga gold bars here!

    Like

  112. Amazing! http://sodabooster.com/ Up to 10 000 free Candy Crush Soda Saga gold bars!

    Like

  113. The Shakespeare Insult Generator is the second-best thing on the internet today.

    Like

    Terra Walker recently posted That Time My Logo Was On A Race Car.

  114. This whole thing is awesome. The post, your daughter, AND the fact that there is a Shakesperean Insult Generator!

    Like

  115. 4 people, thanks a lot for the post.Really thank you! Much obliged.online

    Like

  116. I laughed so hard at the generator. Thanks for that.

    Like

  117. 4 people, thanks so much for the post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

    Like

  118. Thank you so much Jennifer!! have a nice week

    Like

  119. 120
    Paula Hass

    Hahaha! My daughter, Hannah, is in a lot of plays and has been reading “Macbeth” in class and she showed me the Shakespearean Insult generator. They had to use some of the insults in a paper they were working on. I sorta stole the list from her and it now hangs above my desk so that I can use those words whenever I’m upset!

    Like

  120. 121
    Caroline Springer

    “Anointed sovereign of groans and sighs” is my personal favorite! I got it off the side of my Shakespearean insult mug

    Like

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