The 30 Wittiest Put-Downs Ever Uttered

These savage burns will live on into eternity.

The 30 Wittiest Put-Downs Ever Uttered

These savage burns will live on into eternity.

Is there anything better in this world than a truly inspired insult? A good put-down is a thing of rare beauty, something to be relished like a fine wine. You can’t even pretend to be offended when somebody insults you with the right combination of artistry and wit. Don’t take it personally, bro. Just say “sick burn” and let it go.

History has been filled with crushing zingers and comebacks that’ve made us go “Whoa!” Here are 30 of our favorites. And when you’re done here, check out these 75 Jokes That Are So Bad They’re Actually Funny.

katharine hepburn wittiest put downs

1
“She ran the whole gamut of the emotions, from A to B.”

Author Dorothy Parker on Katharine Hepburn’s acting.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

wittiest put downs

2
“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.”

Author J.D. Salinger, from his novel Catcher in the Rye. And for more literary-inspired trivia, here are the best literature-inspired baby names. 

wittiest put down

3
“My dear, you are ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly.”

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to Lady Astor, the first female Member of Parliament, when she called him “disgustingly drunk.”

wittiest put downs

4
“Bill Clinton is a man who thinks international affairs means dating a girl from out of town.”

Author Tom Clancy on the 42nd President of the United States. And for more fun with quotes, see these 32 Ways to Change His Behavior with Movie Quotes. 

wittiest put downs

5
“There’s one area where Donald’s experience could be invaluable, and that’s closing Guantánamo. Because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground.”

President Barack Obama, on our current president. And for more coverage of President Trump, here are the 5 Handshake Rules He Breaks All the Time. 

Beethoven, who had a witty put-down

6
“I like your opera. I think I will set it to music.”

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven, slapping another composer to the curb.

wittiest put downs

7
“How could they tell?”

Dorothy Parker, on the death of President Calvin Coolidge. 

wittiest put downs

8
“I don’t approve of political jokes; I have seen too many of them get elected.”

Comedian Jon Stewart on the tools of his trade.

wittiest put downs

9
“What you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Adam Sandler getting reprimanded by the school principal in Billy Madison. And for more killer film lines, here are the 37 Movies Every Man Over 40 Should Be Able to Quote.

wittiest put downs

10
“If your brains were dynamite, there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.”

Author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., from his novel Timequake. 

wittiest put downs

11
“She speaks five languages and can’t act in any of them.”

Sir John Gielgud on Casablanca star Ingrid Bergman. 

wittiest put downs

12
“One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity there ain’t nothing can beat teamwork.”

Author Mark Twain, in one of his most famous mass burns.

wittiest put downs

13
“What problems do you have, apart from being blind, unemployed, and a moron?”

Tennis star John McEnroe, to a Wimbledon spectator.

wittiest put downs

14
“Your hair wants cutting.”

Said by the Mad Hatter to the March Hare in Lewis Carroll‘s novel Alice in Wonderland

wittiest put downs

15
“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”

Actress Mae West on a man she didn’t like in Belle of the Nineties (1934).

wittiest put downs

16
“Gerry Ford is so dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson on President Gerald Ford. 

wittiest put downs

17
“Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.”

Actress Elizabeth Taylor on her storied acting career.

wittiest put downs

18
“Gentleman, Chicolini here may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

Comedian Groucho Marx in Duck Soup (1933).

wittiest put downs

19
“He is simply a hole in the air.”

Author George Orwell, in his novel The Lion and the Unicorn. 

wittiest put downs

20
“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.”

President Abraham Lincoln, on one of his political opponents.

wittiest put downs

21
“We were trying to get pregnant, but I forgot one of us had to have a penis.”

Comedienne and television producer Roseanne Barr, on her ex-husband Tom Arnold. 

wittiest put downs

22
“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”

Writer and filmmaker Billy Wilder, while listening to an actor sing in the movie Kiss Me, Stupid. 

wittiest put downs

23
“Lie down so I can recognize you.”

Boxer Willie Pep, greeting a former opponent.

wittiest put downs

24
“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.”

Dolly Parton, referring to herself.

wittiest put downs

25
“He was so tight-fisted, it hurt him to go to the bathroom.”

Actress and singer Britt Ekland on former partner Rod Stewart. 

wittiest put downs

26
“James Franco: acting, teaching, directing, writing, producing, photography, soundtracks, editing; is there anything you can do?”

Actress and comedian Natasha Leggero on The Disaster Artist star.

wittiest put downs

27
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

Mark Twain on the members of Capitol Hill.

Gandhi with a witty put-down

28
“I think it would be a good idea.”

Mahatma Gandhi, when asked for his thoughts on “western civilization.”

wittiest put downs

29
“Nancy, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

Winston Churchill, after being informed by Lady Astor that if she was married to him, she would have poisoned his coffee.

Pope John Paul XXIII with a witty put-down

30
“About half.”

Pope John Paul XXIII, when he was asked about how many people work at the Vatican. And for more quotes, check out the 100 Life-Changing Quotes to Inspire Your Days.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!

Best Life
Live smarter, look better,​ and live your life to the absolute fullest.
Get Our Newsletter Every Day!
Enter your email address to get the best tips and advice.
GET YOUR FREE GIFT
SUBSCRIBE