13 Best Ways To Respond To An Insult (Witty & Clever)

Have you recently been insulted? Stranded for what to say in return? In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the things you could say when someone tries to hurl an insult at you.

For generic insults say “I know you are but what am I?”, “And you’re….”, or “I don’t care”. When you’re in a roast battle, think of what people think of them, be creative, bend the truth (but don’t break it), and treat rumours like fact. For nasty and badly intentioned rumours, ignore it and walk away.

best ways to respond to an insult

5 Best Ways To Respond To A Generic Insult

Of course, there will be times in life when the insults are just generic. They could have been aimed at almost anyone on the planet, but they weren’t. They were aimed at you.

Most of the time, these kinds of insults will not hurt you, and you’ll know that the person saying them is just having a bit of banter with you.

But, why not give them something they weren’t expecting and hit them back with one of these replies.

I know you are but what am I?

This one flips the insult on its head. Whatever that person just called you, they have just described themselves rather than you. If they just called you ugly, and you throw this bomb at them, all of a sudden, you are not the ugly one anymore, and it is them who has the face of a warthog’s backside!

This one does not work the same with compliments.

But, if someone calls you a rude name, and you’re struggling to decide what to say back, letting them know that they are the insult can be a great comeback.

Takes one to know one

Similar to our previous insult, “takes one to know one” throws the insult back into their face. Let’s say one day someone calls you a dummy. Well, how could they possibly know what makes someone a dummy if they’re not a dummy themselves?

They will be dumbstruck as they won’t be able to argue that they are not a dummy. Seeing as being a dummy is the only way to spot one.

However, this one only works if it’s something you don’t mind being called. It might not work too well if someone calls you a name such as a nonce or a rapist.

Never heard that one before.

Most of us like to think of ourselves as clever. And we like to imagine that all of the insults we use are creative and original. However, when you say “Never heard that one before” in a sarcastic voice, it suddenly becomes clear that the insult they thought was new and exciting is just bland and recycled.

You will be insulting them by insulting their ability to insult you.

Yeah, well you’re….

Okay, let’s say you can’t use the same insult back at the person who insulted you. For example, if a skinny person calls you fat.

Well, when that happens all you have to do is reply with “Yeah, well you’re a stick insect on crack”. They might think they have the upper hand, but in an unexpected turn of events, you can turn that around and give them an insult back.

I don’t care

When someone insults us, they might like to think that we’re upset, devastated even, by what they’ve told us. However, when you tell them that you don’t care, the goal of their insult has immediately failed.

They think of themselves as so great. But their puny insults are not going to occupy space in your mind.

5 Best Ways To Respond To An Insult During A Roast Battle

These days, the classic “roast battle” is becoming more popular. This is a performance where two comedians go on a stage and hurl insults at each other. In this kind of situation, throwing generic insults at them won’t work. But we have a list of tips about what you can do to insult them back when they strike you.

Think of what people think about them.

Everybody has a reputation. For some it’s good, and for others, not so much. But no matter who you are, there are going to be a few things that people, rightly or wrongly, think about you.

So, in a roast battle, think of some common stereotypes about your opponent. For example, maybe they can’t get women. Perhaps they are a dirty person. Maybe they have IBS. Use whatever you can to call out something they may be sensitive about.

Call out something nobody else has noticed.

During a roast battle, calling a fat person fat might get you a few chuckles. But, what’s going to make people laugh is when they get the feeling of “How did I not notice that?”.

Take a few facts about them, and try to find connections that nobody else does. Maybe they broke up with their girlfriend recently, and they are also bankrupt. You could say something along the lines of “You only date gold diggers. Your ex is now f*cking Scrooge McDuck”.

Be creative.

This is a roast battle. People want to hear things they haven’t heard before. The worst thing you can do is just throw out some generic insults that could be applied to anyone.

What you need to do is be prepared to think outside of the box, and hit your opponent with something they weren’t expecting. Come at it from a new angle. And be ruder than anyone expected you to be.

Bend the truth but don’t break it.

During a roast battle, telling straight-up lies will not work. Doing this falls under the category of “insults that could apply to anyone”. And you should never accuse anyone of committing a crime.

However, what you can do is slightly bend the truth so it comes across as more insulting. If your opponent has a habit of ordering too many drinks at a bar, you could say that the bar tonight is not all you can drink.

If they have a habit of sleeping with older women, tell them that the old folks home down the road has put out a restraining order against them.

Use the truth, but treat the truth as a guidebook not a rulebook for your insults.

Treat rumour like fact

Every one of us has some rumours going around about us. But, in a roast battle, there are no such things as rumours, only facts.

No matter how little evidence there is to support a rumour, you need to act like it’s a court verified truth, and go off that. Because nobody will laugh if you say “Well, someone who I once spoke to said he heard someone he knew down the pub told him this nasty fact about you”.

3 Best Ways To Respond To A Hurtful Insult

And now, we get onto the set of insults that are not like the others. All of the other insults in this article have been for the times where you’re having some fun with a few friends. But the ones we’ll talk about today are the kinds that you do not want to hear.

This is my advice on what to do or say when someone says something that genuinely upsets you.

Ignore it and walk away

At the end of the day, we all have a limited number of hours within each day. There is no point in wasting your time trying to convince someone else that they have got you all wrong.

The best thing to do in this situation is to just walk away, and realise that talking to them is going to be like talking to a brick wall. You wouldn’t change the mind of a brick wall, so the best thing to do is to just walk away.

“I’m not going to engage in a discussion with you”

This option is perhaps slightly more polite than the previous one. However, the underlying message is still the same.

Some people have this idea that it’s good to debate with people. And that can be true, depending on their intentions. But, if someone does not have positive intentions, the best thing you can do is just walk away from the situation.


They might have expected some kind of monologue of self-defence. But, you are not going to waste your time with something like that. There is no reason for you to give a long explanation for what you’ve done.

Instead, just let them think they’re right, and go away from the situation.


And there we have a whole heap of comebacks that you can use when someone insults you. Most of the time, the people insulting us are our friends who are just throwing around some nasty works as a bit of playful banter, it’s rare for insults to be meant hurtfully.

But, at least now you’ll have some ideas and some tools that you can use whenever someone tries to hurt your feelings. When you’re armed with this list, you will no longer have to worry about what people think of you.

Hopefully now, when you get insulted, you won’t stand there like an idiot with nothing to say. You’ll be able to remember what you’ve learnt today and throw something back at them.