Internet / How do “young social adults” insult each other nowadays?

Well, verbally, of course. I woke up wondering about how “kids” today use language to insult each other; not the flame-throwers on social media sites, but in a less public  discussion. A Google search (my digital I-Ching) for “how kids insult each other” brought up this chat room exchange between aspiring writers of “teen fiction” and related genres.

The discussion is refreshing, actually; brings one down to earth from all the “adult” helping, caring, fixing industry pseudo-scientific blah, blah, blah about how to officially dismiss people who are socially unacceptable by labeling them as “defectives”.  We clearly can see in these dispassionate comments the origins of racism, discrimination, bigotry, prejudice, hatred, violence – (physical, emotional and psychological) as a product of social indoctrination within the family, schools and by  society at large.

At base, it all erupts from the social typical infantile stage of magical thinking: specifically, magical fear of contamination by ‘the other’: Social humans are all about fear and dominance…. words are magic weapons that form the spells and rituals of protection and control.

These females have obviously grasped and accepted the intent of language as the primary magic power for arranging humans on the social pyramid!  

They also do not seem to connect “bitch” with “dog”!!!


The opening question: (Remember, this is ostensibly about language useful in character development and authenticity to the environment of the characters. These seem to be UK, US and Canadian females actively pursuing publication, with one slightly creepy older male…) 

Do bullies still call unattractive girls “dogs”?

I know that all of the awful slut-shaming words are used a lot, but I’m looking more specifically for a word that they might use for someone who they consider to be ugly.


Thread: (slightly altered for readability; italics mine) 

1. I’m 22 so I might be a bit old to chime in, but I was never called a dog during my junior high or high school years. I was called an “ugly b**ch” sometimes, but never a dog. Or at least, not from what I remember.

2. Depends on the area, but “dog” is pretty timeless. There’s also “butterface.” Could always keep it simple and say “ugly.” Some people still say “fug/fugly” but it could end up dated. Girls will call others girls “gross.” A lot of people also say “busted.” If it’s deep south (US) you could go with “ratchet” but that’s kind of advanced.

3. It’s so bad that the first words I think are “ho” and “tramp.” But… grenades, oompa loompa, cuntsatchel, wildebeest, snorlax, duff …

4. I’m 23 and from the South and I’ve never heard a girl called a dog. People who would use those words tended to not have a creative vocabulary. Pretty much the stuff xxx  said, I’ve heard. (Except ratchet, which is weird.) Also, horseface. Sometimes people would take an overriding facial feature and make fun of that, like “buttchin.” (Creative: a word tragically devalued by American pop culture)

5. (Question originator) I’m in my early 30s, and dog was pretty common when I was younger. I don’t want to seem too dated with vocabulary. Although I really was hoping to be able to use dog, because it would fit in so perfectly with my story.

Am I the only one who sometimes feels like a huge jerk for all of the things that I throw at my MC? (main character)

6. Depending on the context in which you use “dog” I could buy it.

7. Haha, don’t feel bad. Bad things happening to characters make for interesting stories. I’ve had my characters get shot, stabbed, kicked, arrested, and had their parents killed. Maybe it’s bad that I don’t feel bad…?

8. Gromet. That’s what cousins from Texas say.

9. I’m still in high school. Never heard the word “dog” used to describe a girl deemed as “ugly.” Normally it’s just “ugly” sometimes followed by “bitch” or “c***” or any other insulting word you can muster, but those two seem to be the most popular at my school.

10. Girls aren’t that original anymore. Busted is pretty common, though, if you’re looking for slang. I have never once heard ‘dog’ as slang, but it could work. Butterface only works for girls who have nice bodies. Fugly is used, but not much anymore. Disgusting and gross work well, too, but that’s usually only used in passing directed at fat or chubby girls.

11. The number one insult are always gay slurs, faggot, cock sucker, dyke, carpet muncher, bull dyke, homo, “No homo,” softball player, Dora the Explorer, tranny.

12. (male) There’s also a whole way that men talk to other men about women that we don’t say in front of women. Like “Booty do,” as in “Her belly hangs out more than her booty do.”

12. It also depends who’s saying what, if someone is dressed up and they’re at all insecure about their looks adding a couple of choice adjectives about their clothing is probably the most effective thing you can say. I got into it a few months ago with a prom girl (It’s a long story and not a moment I’m proud of but if you’re going to be the straight kids at a gay club you should be respectful) but I think I made her cry when I said, “What are you wearing? It looks like a unicorn ate an a rainbow and then vomited on you. I’ve seen transgender hookers who had more fashion sense.”

13. Be creative: Ratchet is a very specific term that only has meaning in a certain community.

14. I’ve never heard dog being used to describe an ugly girl by any of my peers. I’m 20 and from NY. I mean, if someone said it, we’d know what they meant but people are more cruel than that.

15. I usually heard ugly ass bitch, bitch look hit!, stupid ass bitch, dumbass bitch.. well, you get the point. Now I’m hearing ratchet but that’s for girls that are well..ratchet

16. I’ve heard dog used. Usually “she’s dog ugly” or “ugly as a dog” though. Also “butt ugly.” Homely, busted, a bag and shagger (meaning you’d still screw her, but only with a bag over her head–lower level than butterface), and horseface are all terms I’ve heard too.

17. Or, have fun and make up your own. Like someone else said, the little things that are specific to a person sting the worst.

18. (Rare older male) To my mind, the quality of insults has gone seriously downhill of late and represents another area where the Young People really need to pull their socks up.

In my day, unreconstructed gentlemen just about kept the flame of insult alive with such gems as:- “Face like a bag of spanners” “Fugly” (fucking ugly – see what they did there?) “Hanging” “Face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle” “Munter” “Bushpig” “R.A.F” (acronym for the Royal Air Force. Also “Rough As Fuck”) “Double bagger” (in which both parties wear bags on their heads in case hers slips off) “I wouldn’t even do her with my spare.” Nowadays often rendered as “I wouldn’t even do her with yours”. In these parts, one tends to hear pig comparisons rather than dog ones nowadays.  Regards xxx

19. Yea you can say young people need to pull their socks up but what I remember is most people at school learnt their attitudes from their parents and other influential adults in their lives. So before you go yelling at young people like myself and others for being young when the young only learn what’s right and wrong to say about others from society. (Well, if you are aware of this, be an adult and reject those social bad behaviors!) 

20. Urm fugly tw*t c*nt from what I remember from school. I got it more from boys at school than girls, boys would call me stuff like ‘that fugly b*tch’ and would go loudly ‘eww who would want to sleep with THAT?’ things to undermine your confidence really if you get any, always aimed at looks and sexuality, and being sexually confident… actually not that different from the comments you get from society anyway as a woman!

21. I think he was being facetious. Let’s not let this devolve into a conversation on how degrading insults can be (they obviously are). The point of this post is ammo for the OP’s WIP. Just trying to keep things from derailing to a bad place.

22. (Rare older male) I was only joking! (Oh, sure – standard passive aggressive assertion. LOL)  We live in a society in which anyone over the age of about 35 is increasingly written off as a worthless oxygen thief*, so I quite enjoy fighting the rearguard for the middle aged farts. But I can assure you it is always done with tongue firmly in cheek!

It does, however, raise an interesting issue for the OP. Most folk can deal with straight insults, however vile the language used. A very funny comedian (forget his name – he was an American chap) was on telly the other day talking about how his teenage nephew berates him with the latest groovy street slang. The joke – almost certainly funnier because it’s true – was that all the comedian has to do is accuse his nephew of just having had a wank and he falls apart into a mumbling, red-faced mass of teen angst. What folk really can’t deal with is clever insults. Unfortunately, awkward teens are not well placed to deliver such ripostes as they rightly fear getting a kicking in return. Could the OP generate reader empathy for the character by having her imagine all sorts of clever ripostes which she wisely never vocalises for fear of violence? Regards, xxx

23. I’ve only really ever heard “dog” used in popular culture, never from a real teen. “Ugly,” “fucking ugly,” all that works. A particular insult around these parts is “cakeface” — for the type of girl who wears pounds and pounds of makeup, especially foundation. Usually implies that she’s trying to hide an ugly face.

24. …ugly as fuck? Slut? Dyke? Bitch?

25. God, I must be out of touch with my age group. But I never went to HS, so that might have something to do with it. I’ve never heard “dog” used as an insult, though. Unless it was my dad saying my room was dirtier than what a dog would live in…

26. Hmm. I’ve only ever heard “dog” used in reference to pervy, skeevy, sketchy men and boys before. Regionalisms for the win. I’m going to have to give another vote toward busted. Though it might be a little too of the moment and not have much staying power.

27. The mean people make moo sounds when the MC walks by? I’m 26 and vaguely remember being called a cow. High school is mostly blocked from my head – not a good experience.

28. (Question originator) Thanks for the replies, everyone! I’m having a hard time letting go of dog altogether, but you’re right. And off I go to think some more!

29. Sorry, just didn’t understand what you meant by this. The word dog must be a regional or even a cultural thing because where I grew up (NYC) it was definitely slang for someone who was ugly (male or female). However, I don’t think it meant we were lacking a “creative vocabulary” (Really hoping you dind’t mean that in an insulting way, but that it is how it came across) We never ever used the word horseface. Hmm… wonder if that’s because horses weren’t a common thing in NYC.

30. Busted was def a popular one and the word Nasty. Not sure what is used today, so I’m def interested to here more on this. Stank ass is another one I used to hear. Oh and the word Dog was interchangeably used to refer to someone who was a big time player.

31. You are a bit younger than me, but lets just say when I was your age (and living in NYC–Hell’s Kitchen), the word dog was used to mean ugly. guess it’s not used anymore in that way. They’ve become crueler and more creative.

32. I’m 22 and from California but when I was in high school, I heard “gross” and “busted” a lot. Also “nasty.”

33. When I heard ‘dog’ I immediately thought you meant in relation to boys, basically meaning disrespectful or just an all-round prick.

34. I certainly hope “dog” is out of date as an insult. I’ve just written a short story which depends on it. Used of a girl in this case.

35. Never heard ‘dog’ at all and ‘busted’ used to be used if you got caught out by a teacher doing something you shouldn’t. The most common words for an ugly girl were ‘minger’ (also used to describe anything bad – ‘that food was minging’) and ‘butters’ – short for ‘butt-ugly’. I’m two years out of a London school though, so it might be dated and/or regional slang.

36. (Male?) Me and my friends usually call each other “asshole”, “douchebag”, “motherfucker”. And ever since one of my friends started forcing me to work out with him, I’ve started calling him, “You son of a bitch asshole docuhebag motherfucker who will burn in hell.”  But that’s because our workout HURTs.

“Globalization” made possible by the Internet. 

“Cotton wool elf”? Ouch! That hurts…

The Scots are particularly adept…


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