The 17 Most Effective Insults From Science Fiction and Fantasy

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Don't ever let anybody tell you that you're wasting your time watching science fiction and fantasy. Because if you find yourself getting messed with, you'll have the perfect comeback ready. Science fiction and fantasy are full of pithy insults. To prove it, here are 17 totally devastating put-downs from movies and TV.

Note: We tried to stick to put-downs that you might actually be able to use, to some effect, in the real world. So there's no "scruffy-looking nerf herder" on this list — since if you called a regular person that, they might not feel adequately insulted. Also, if you want a list of great insults from science fiction and fantasy books, try here.


1) Vasquez puts Hudson in his place in Aliens

Hudson: “Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?”

Vasquez: “No. Have you?”


2) Evil critiques his underling’s intellectual acumen in Time Bandits

“Dear Benson, you are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence.”


3) Cher takes the Devil down a notch or two in The Witches of Eastwick

“I think – no, I am positive – that you are the most unattractive man I have ever met in my entire life. You know, in the short time we’ve been together, you have demonstrated every loathsome characteristic of the male personality and even discovered a few new ones. You are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, you’re morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, a lousy sense of humor, and you smell. You’re not even interesting enough to make me sick.”


4) Bud vs society in Repo Man

Bud: “Look at those assholes. Ordinary fuckin' people. I hate ‘em.”


5) Peter Venkman vs the EPA in Ghostbusters

Ray Stantz: “Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.”

Walter Peck: “They caused an explosion!”

Mayor: “Is this true?”

Venkman: “Yes, it’s true.”


Venkman: “This man has no dick.”

6) Rimmer and Lister have it out on Red Dwarf (“Queeg”)

Rimmer: “Friendship ? Do you know how many people I’ve met in my life I could count on as friends ? True friends ?”


Lister: “Well, if you count Inflatable Ingrid, your polythene pal, one.”


7) Spike zings Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“Bargaining, Part 1”)

Spike: “Oh, poor Watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? ‘Cup o’ tea, cup o’ tea, almost got shagged, cup o’ tea?’”


8) Mal displays a lack of confidence in Jayne on Firefly (“Our Mrs. Reynolds”)

Mal: “Well, my time of not taking you seriously is coming to a middle.”

9) Cordelia demeans Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“The Zeppo”)

Cordelia: “It must be really hard when all your friends have, like, superpowers; Slayer, werewolf, witches, vampires; and you’re, like, this little nothing. You must feel like Jimmy Olsen.”


10) Avon gets the better of this exchange on Blake’s 7 (“Killer”)

Vila: “Yes, I always knew you had a friend. I used to say to people, ‘I bet Avon’s got a friend, somewhere in the galaxy.’”

Avon: “And you were right. That must be a novel experience for you.”


11) John Whorfin falls short on grammar but gets his point across in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

John Whorfin: "Shut up, John Bigbooty, you coward! You’re the weakest individual I ever know!"


12) Valentine and Earl in Tremors

Earl: “Damn it, listen to me. I’m older and wiser.”

Valentine: “Yeah, well, you’re half right.”

13) The Doctor questions Borg’s intelligence on Doctor Who (“The Robots of Death”)

The Doctor: “You know, you’re a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain.”


14) The Cyberman/Dalek design rivalry on Doctor Who (“Doomsday”)

Cyberman: “Our technologies are compatible though your design is less elegant.”

Dalek Thay: “Daleks have no concept of elegance!”

Cyberman: “This is obvious.”


15) Tyrion Lannister puts Janos Slynt in his place on Game of Thrones (“The Night Lands”)

Janos: “I will not have my honor questioned by an imp!”


Tyrion: “I’m not questioning your honor, Lord Janos. I’m denying its existence.”

16) Q doubts that Worf is much of a reader on Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Deja Q”)

“Eat any good books lately?”

17) Westley confronts Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride

This one’s more of an exchange that a single pithy put-down but its intricacy and effectiveness is beyond question.


Prince Humperdinck: “First things first. To the death.”

Westley: “No. To the pain.”

Prince Humperdinck: “I don’t think I’m quite familiar with that phrase.”

Westley: “I’ll explain and I’ll use small words so that you’ll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon.”


Prince Humperdinck: “That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me.”

Westley: “It won’t be the last. To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next, your nose.”


Prince Humperdinck: “And then my tongue, I suppose. I killed you too quickly the last time. A mistake I don’t mean to duplicate tonight.”

Westley: “I wasn’t finished. The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.”


Prince Humperdinck: “And then my ears, I understand. Let’s get on with it.”

Westley: “Wrong! Your ears you keep and I’ll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, ‘Dear God! What is that thing?’ will echo in your perfect ears. That is what ‘to the pain’ means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.”


Prince Humperdinck: “I think you’re bluffing.”

Westley: “It’s possible, pig. I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I’m only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again... perhaps I have the strength after all.”


So what's your favorite put-down from a science fiction or fantasy movie, TV show, book or comic?