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Adolescent Insults

Once you’ve survived the point-blank insults of childhood, you are ready for the more sophisticated flair of adolescent insults. Adolescent insults incorporate a much more colorful and hormonally-based range of insults which, for the purposes of this article, will be alluded to only. It’s safe to say that the majority of insults are based on the twin engines of adolescent angst: the discovery of, and subsequent personal orientation to, sexuality and social status.

“Ho,” “slut” and “skank” make their tender emergence at this age, as well as “geek,” “nerd,” “goth,” and “emo.” Some of these have a dual function as a general categorical grouping, allowing for instant social classification regardless of geography or language. Should your family move in the middle of your high school years, you will easily find your niche at your new school.
Adolescence is a time of transformation, a bridge between childhood and adulthood. This is reflected in the level of sophistication of the insults. While single-word insults are still popular, some advanced youth begin to experiment with phrases, even allusions, based on their area of expertise.

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While the phrase, “You snort more than an agitated anti-hero in an Ellis novel” is an unlikely insult choice, except perhaps in some exclusive lit-snob clique, the insult serves as an excellent example of typical adolescent phrase-building. Here we have a link between an undesirable, socially awkward behaviour (snorting) and a more abstract notion of undesirability, rooted in literature. This method of connecting the tangible to the abstract marks the first big step towards insulting at an adult level.
Of course, you can still be called an “absolute zero,” a “loser,” a “brainless twit,” a “suck-up” and a variety of other derogatory terms by those in the peer group who have not yet taken the time to formulate and craft their technique.

At this stage in life, adolescent insults should be paired with a number of physical gestures, including crying, stamping of the feet, slamming of doors, abrupt opening or closing of windows, over-articulation of certain phrases (usually paired with over-large arm gestures), and, especially, sulking.
Teenagers, by dint of their transformative process, also like to insult and challenge members outside of their direct peer group, including their parents, younger siblings, and those who they perceive to have a social defect of some kind. This inclusive process, while rarely appreciated by any of the other parties involved, allows teenagers a chance to develop their insult skills. Language classes can help broaden a teenager’s reach in this area; learning inappropriate words in French class will only increase the breadth of their insult repository.