Different Types of Disney Movie Insults

different types of Disney insultsLooking for some kid-friendly insults for your YA or children’s book? Watch some Disney movies. Seriously, while we don’t think of kids movies as being full of insults, when you pay attention, you realize that there are a lot. Enough, in fact, that I can break them down into different types of Disney movie insults.

How Disney Characters Insult Each Other

After reading through Disney quote after Disney quote, I noticed that there are two basic of types of insults: witty and simple. Then, I thought, no, the two types are specific and generic. Finally, I ended up with 2 types (witty v. simple) with 2 subtypes (specific and generic).

Witty Disney Movie Insults

Most witty disney movie insults fall under banter and come from characters who are joking or are fairly calm. They involve the use of $2 words, long phrases, and even figurative language. Some of them are so subtle that I’m sure that they go right over kids heads. Others are blatant enough that ambitious children probably have them memorized (or at least giggle madly).


These witty insults only work in the context of the movie (or something very similar).

  • “Some all-powerful Genie. Can’t even bring people back from the dead. I don’t know, Abu. He probably can’t even get us out of this cave.” — Aladdin from Aladdin
  • “For a clown fish, he’s not that funny.” — Bruce from Finding Nemo
  • “Ah, Eric, I think you swallowed a bit too much seawater.” — Grimsby from The Little Mermaid (They’d have to at least have been swimming in a sea for this to make sense.)
  • “Gaston, you are positively primeval.” — Belle from Beauty and the Beast
  • “You pompous, paraffin-headed peabrain!” — Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast (It’s name calling, but it also uses “big words,” alliteration, and an allusion to Lumiere’s former state.)
  • “En garde, you, you overgrown pocket watch!” — Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast (references Cogworth’s former state)
  • “Oh, how quaint – even the rabble.” — Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty


While a step above the average “stupid-head,” these aren’t specific to the story. They can re-used.

  • “We mustn’t lurk in doorways. It’s rude. One might question your upbringing.” — Ursula from The Little Mermaid
  • “Teenagers. They think they know everything. You give them an inch – they swim all over you.” — Sebastian from The Little Mermaid (Granted, the swimming is story-specific, but otherwise, not so much.)
  • “Well, as slippery as your mind is, as the King’s brother, you should’ve been first in line.” — Zazu from The Lion King (“the King’s brother” is specific, but the actual insult is not.)
  • “I’d rather be smart than be an actor.” Pinocchio from Pinocchio
  • “Oh, they’re hopeless. A disgrace to the forces of evil.” — Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
  • “The only girl who’d love him is his mother.” — Yao from Mulan
  • “I know. It’s called ‘a cruel irony.’ Like my dependence on you.” — Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • “This is Yzma, the Emperor’s advisor. Living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.” — Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • “I’m very sorry, Gaston, but… but I just don’t deserve you.” — Belle from Beauty and the Beast
  • “You can be replaced, you know.” — Napoleon from Aristocats
Simple Disney Insults

These disparaging remarks are basically examples of name-calling. Usually 1 insulting word at a time since the characters tend to be much more upset than with the others (for the most part). And you might notice some overlap between movies and characters.


There aren’t as many examples of context-specific name-calling, but it does happen.

  • “Hey, look! Banana Beak is scared.” — Simba from The Lion King
  • “Flounder, don’t be such a guppy.” — Ariel from The Little Mermaid
  • “You are a worthless street rat. You were born a street rat, you will die a street rat, and only your fleas will mourn you.” — Prince Achmed from Aladdin (It’s long-winded but mostly repeated name-calling.)


The generic ones have the most overlap. In fact, the near-identical nature of some of the lines is what made me start paying attention to Disney insults in the first place.

  • “I’m surrounded by amateurs.” — Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
  • “I’m surrounded by idiots.” — Scar from The Lion King
  • “Why you, you unreasonable, pompous, blustering old windbag!” — King Stefan from Sleeping Beauty
  • “Take a look at that, you pompous windbag!” — The King from Cinderella
  • “She’s a demon! She’s a monster!” — Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
  • “She’s an old witch!” — Grumpy from Snow White
  • “That witch. That devil woman.” — Perdita from 101 Dalmatians
  • “Stupid-head.” — Stitch from Lilo and Stitch
  • “You idiot!” — Jasper from 101 Dalmatians
  • “You idiots! You fools! You imbeciles!” — Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians
  • “You idiots!” — Razoul from Aladdin
  • “You little fool!” — Jafar from Aladdin
  • “You clumsy little fool!” — Lady Tremaine from Cinderella
  • “Fools! Idiots! Imbeciles!” — Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

Notice the pattern? I almost focused the article on how many characters got called stupid (or a synonym). Not the best example for kids, but what insult would be?

Thoughts? Ready to inadvertently pay attention to all the insults in Disney movies now that I brought it to your attention? (Sry?)


The English Building Block Most Kids Are Missing

English Building Block Most Kids Are MissingWhen you’re trying to teach kids higher English skills, it can be really frustrating when they are fundamental skills they simply don’t have. In my experience, the English building block most kids are missing is an understanding of clauses.

The Clause: English Building Block & Gamechanger

Defining Characteristics of Clauses

Since this is a blog for writers, I’m assuming that most of you already know what clauses are (English-wise). On the off chance that you don’t, however, here’s a brief description of the most important distinctions:

  • A clause must always have both a subject and a verb.
    • Independent Clause = a complete thought that can stand on its own
    • Dependent Clause = an independent clause with an added word in front of it

Yes, a dependent clause is an incomplete thought, but recognizing the conjunction or adverb that turns the independent clause into a dependent clause is really useful. See, students can’t always tell when something is an incomplete thought. They can, however, tell when the word “because” is in front of a subject and verb (more often, anyway).

Here’s an example:

  • Independent Clause (IC): He traveled forty-five miles in the driving rain.
  • Dependent Clause (DC): After he traveled forty-five miles in the driving rain.

The first one is a whole sentence. The second one is a fragment until or unless an independent clause is added to the end of it.

After he traveled forty-five miles in the driving rain (DC), he decided to not even try to drive the rest of the way that night (IC).

Why Is Knowing Clauses Important?

Some people will tell you that knowing clauses is important because it helps you to recognize the different types of sentence structures. While that’s true (the sentence structures are defined by the number and types of clauses in the sentence), naming the type of sentence structure isn’t particularly useful unless you’re going to be teacher English Language Arts or making your career in linguistics.

In which case, I sincerely hope that you don’t struggle with identifying clauses.

The reason I want all my students to be able to write and recognize clauses is that you cannot know punctuation rules well without them. You can’t. Where commas go, where semicolons are needed, where colons can be used – all these rules rely on whether something is a clause or a phrase, what type of clause it is, and where the clause/phrase is in the sentence.

Without understanding those punctuation rules, students are effectively left guessing or following rules given to them in lower grades that are only true sometimes.

For example, in younger grades, students are often told to put a comma in front of “and.” That’s only true if the “and” is part of a list (if you were taught the Oxford comma), or there is an independent clause after “and.”

To prove my point, the punctuation in each of the following sentences is correct:

  • We went to the movie theatre, the ice cream parlor, and the book store.
  • The number of parties on campus are increasing and seem to be causing a drop in grades.
  • Tim and his friend went to the pet store, and they immediately left after catching a glimpse of the tarantula in the clerk’s hand.

So… sometimes, the student would be right and other times, not. If the student’s teacher likes the Oxford comma, the student has a 2/3 chance of being right. If the student’s teacher hates the Oxford comma, the student has a 1/3 chance of being right.

The worst part of this is that the student has no idea why following this rule is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

This problem is most obvious when students are supposed to edit something. Anyone can (and will) make punctuation mistakes when writing. Students who don’t know these rules, however, have nothing to go on when looking for errors. They can’t find them because they don’t know where to put the commas, semicolons, or colons in the first place.

And, you know what? Those same rules can help the students understand reading passages better.

That’s why knowing clauses is important, and that’s why it’s so frustrating that most kids are missing this essential English building block. If we want kids to be able to write and punctuate effectively, we need to figure out how to fix this.

Any ideas?


How Are Soldiers and Veterans Treated in Your Story?

How Are Soldiers and Veterans Treated in Your Story?If your story includes a war or other military conflict, then, there is one question that absolutely needs answered when you worldbuild: how are soldiers and veterans treated in your story?

Society’s Attitude Towards Soldiers and Veterans

With Veteran’s Day coming up quickly, I’ve found myself thinking about different examples of how soldiers and veterans are treated in books and movies, especially fiction genres like fantasy and science fiction.

Why those genres? Because they’re not as limited by reality.

With realistic fiction, the treatment tends to mirror real life (as it should for the genre and realism), so it’s not as interesting to consider as when the author has free rein to shape the societal views. Creating different societal rules for soldiers and veterans than the ones we live with is especially effective for making a world feel different and interesting.

Standard Views of Soldiers and Veterans

Like anything else, there are standard literary takes on how soldiers are viewed on either side of a conflict. Here are few common ones (although my names for them may be different than others you read).

  • Heroes and Politicians: When soldiers are revered, society gives them a great deal of power. Being people, they can use that power for good or bad, but in a state where fighting is respected, it would not be uncommon for successful soldiers to retire to positions of power within the government (national or local).
  • Unwitting Game Pieces: The soldiers are mere extensions of the person in power – in the story, they almost never have names or opinions. They do what they’re told and have no real mental contribution to the war being fought (Star Wars and the clones are a pretty good example.). You might also call them Faceless Fodder. As far as their leader is concerned, they have no value beyond achieving his/her goals, and society follows suit.
  • Monsters: In a society that hates violence, war, or its government, its own soldiers may be just as reviled. This leaves them with the options of staying in the army (where the government can protect them somewhat), trying to hide what they are (to avoid being ostracized), becoming the monsters the people portray them as (so that the fear gives them some power/protection), or living in isolation from society (in the wild, an asylum, or even the streets). It’s a pretty negative worldview, so it’s better used with darker stories.
Interesting Examples of Soldiers and Veterans in Worldbuilding

In many books, it’s common for soldiers to have no exceptional benefits when serving or once they retire – they do the job and then are simply released and go back to the family farm or wherever they came from before.

In other words, they’re left to make their way on their own.

Off hand, however, I can think of two examples that went further and gave veterans’ rights some added interest. Granted, some of those rights may not be useful for quite a while (if ever), but they’re there.

  1. Mountains of Mourning (a novella included in Young Miles) by Lois McMaster Bujold: A woman shows up on the count’s doorstep to demand that someone investigate a murder. In her arguments to be seen, she says that her father served in the military, and it is her right to bring her case to the count. The main character confirms that this is true. I would guess that this right has roots in historic feudal society (given the context of the world), but even so, it adds an interesting dimension to the worldbuilding (and is also a good example of how to integrate military practices from history or other cultures).
  2. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein: This book takes the Heroes and Politicians concepts to another level by granting what we consider standard rights (full citizenship, the right to vote, and the right to run for/hold public office) only to people who have served in the military. It’s a pretty extreme situation that led to conflict within the book (and without amongst critics). I mention it because it gives useful insights for how to write a society that drastically varies from ours by reminding us that the standard rights don’t have to be the same in the story as in our lives (instead of adding rights for the soldiers, you can simply take them away from others).

Do I think you should use those specific rights in your books? Probably not. But you might consider the methods used to make the rights more interesting when deciding how to integrate soldiers and veterans into your worldbuilding.


Characteristics of Curse Words

Characteristics of Curse WordsCurse words are useful tools for characterization and worldbuilding. Rather than picking or making up curse words at random, however, I find it useful to consider the characteristics of curse words first.

What Curse Words Have in Common

There are two basic types of curse words: the funny ones that are more socially acceptable and the ones that are more taboo. I’m going to focus on the second grouping today.

Phonetic Characteristics of Curse Words

Many curses, including ones I know from other languages, have specific similarities in how they sound:

  • harsh consonants
  • consonant emphasis
  • short vowels
  • short (or have shorter versions)

Since they are generally used to express anger or frustration, the words themselves tend to have a harsh, abrupt sound that flows easily (trippingly off the tongue). Many of them are also directional – they can be followed by a direct object (like “it” or “you”).

Whom characters direct their curses at can be very telling: does the person only direct curses at inanimate objects? Only at adults? At everyone including children and people who’ve done nothing aggravating? Each option makes a big difference in how the character is perceived.

Social and Moral Characteristics of Curse Words

Besides the way they sound, curse words also have similarities in meaning – they’re all related to something that’s taboo, not talked about, or generally considered bad. Things like sex, poop, or being condemned by God. Things we use euphemisms for in polite company.

What curse words a person chooses or is offended by can show a lot about his/her background and beliefs. For example, in the Bible Belt, “God d@#$!” can be more offensive than other words because “taking the Lord’s name in vain” goes against their religion. In other, less religious circles, on the other hand, it’s considered mild compared to the f-word and others.

Interestingly, society also deems it more appropriate for men to curse than women – especially with the most taboo curse words. Women are supposed to use milder oaths if they curse at all.

That’s why the curse words you choose for a specific character and world can be so important. And some situations and characters are going to require cursing to make sense or seem real.

So why pick something random when taking these two aspects of foul language into account can let you use vile oaths to build characterization and setting on purpose?