Student Dictionary

2 entries found for insult.
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Main Entry: 1inĚsult
Pronunciation: in-primarystresssschwalt
Function: verb
Etymology: from early French insulter "to insult," from Latin insultare "to insult, attack," literally "to leap upon," derived from in- "on, upon" and salire "to leap, spring" --related to ASSAULT, RESILIENT
: to treat or speak to with disrespect or scorn
- inĚsultĚer noun
Word History The phrase "to jump on" is used informally today to mean "to criticize or insult severely." The origin of the word insult also suggests the idea of jumping. Insult comes from the Latin verb insultare, literally meaning "to leap upon." It is made up of the prefix in-, meaning "on, upon," and a form of the verb salire "to leap." One of the first meanings of insult in English was "to make a military attack." That sense became obsolete, and insult now means to attack or "jump on" someone only with words of scorn or disrespect rather than with weapons.

Pronunciation Symbols