These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words
The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, 'If you were my husband I'd give you poison,' and he said, 'If you were my wife, I'd drink it.'
A member of Parliament to Disraeli: 'Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.' 'That depends, Sir,' said Disraeli, 'whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.'
'He had delusions of adequacy.' - Walter Kerr
'He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.' - Winston Churchill
'A modest little person, with much to be modest about.' - Winston Churchill
'I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.'- Clarence Darrow
'He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.' William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)
'Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?' - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)
'Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it.' - Moses Hadas
'He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.' - Abraham Lincoln
'I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.' - Mark Twain
'He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.' - Oscar Wilde
'I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend...if you have one.' - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
'Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second...if there is one.' - Winston Churchill, in response
'I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here.' - Stephen Bishop
'He is a self-made man and worships his creator.' - John Bright
'I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.' - Irvin S. Cobb
'He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.' - Samuel Johnson
'He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.' - Paul Keating
'There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure.' - Jack E. Leonard
'He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.' - Robert Redford
'They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.' - Thomas Brackett Reed
'In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.' - Charles, Count Talleyrand
'He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.' - Forrest Tucker
'Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?' - Mark Twain
'His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.' - Mae West
'Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.' - Oscar Wilde
'He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination.' - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
'I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.' - Groucho Marx
'He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them. - James Reston (about Richard Nixon)
'He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.' - Forrest Tucker
'He has Van Gogh's ear for music.' - Billy Wilder