The intention of insults in sword fighting is to throw off an opponents guard and allow a swordsman to press their attack. Throughout the Caribbean a number of standard insults are used by the many pirates.
During a fight there may come a natural break in the swordplay where one pirate will launch an insult such as "You fight like a Dairy Farmer". The opponent will then be forced to respond with a comeback. If the comeback is sufficiently insulting, they will win the upper hand in the battle. If not, they will be fought down. Whoever retains the upper hand will be able to throw the next insult.
Usually three successfully landed insults will ensure a combatants victory.
Insult Sword Fighting has a slightly different rule when at sea. While fighting on board ship, all insult comebacks must rhyme with the attackers line.
The popularity of Insult Sword Fighting has spawned various other insult based pastimes including Insult Arm Wrestling.
Guybrush Threepwood was taught two insults and comebacks by Captain Smirk on Mêlée Island: The famous 'dairy farmer' insult and the 'shish kabob'. He could also learn the 'smart dog' insult from the Troll.
After his training, Threepwood had to go out into the forest and confront a number of pirates in order to learn more from them in combat.
At first Threepwood would lose many fights not knowing many insults, but the pirates would use new ones which he would then memorize and be able to use in future battles. If he used them later on a different pirate who had a proper comeback, he would then memorize that too.
Some practitioners of Insult Sword Fighting are known as Sword Masters. A famous one is Carla, the Sword Master of Mêlée Island.
Usually these individuals have their own unique arsenal of insults and those who oppose them are forced to use their wits to find a comeback in their own repertoire that makes sense.
It is also impossible to gain the upper hand against them, even with a successful comeback. They are beatable, but prove the toughest opponents of all in sword fights.
Insult Sword Fighting In Game
In Escape from Monkey Island, Guybrush Insult arm-wrestles Ignatius Cheese (the owner of the Scumm Bar). Guybrush may also challenge Ozzie Mandrill to an insult swordfight, but will be utterly defeated due to not understanding his opponents Australian themed insults.
SoMI Insults and Comebacks
There are 16 in all. Once you learn 12 and win three fights with normal pirates, they will begin to say 'You're good enough to fight the Sword Master'.
|You fight like a dairy Farmer!||How appropriate. You fight like a cow!|
|This is the END for you, you gutter crawling cur!||And I've got a little TIP for you, get the POINT?|
|I've spoken with apes more polite than you!||I'm glad to hear you attended your family reunion!|
Soon you'll be wearing my sword like a shish kebab!
|First you'd better stop waving it like a feather duster.|
|People fall at my feet when they see me coming!||Even BEFORE they smell your breath?|
|I'm not going to take your insolence sitting down!||Your hemorrhoids are flaring up again eh?|
|I once owned a dog that was smarter than you.||He must have taught you everything you know.|
|Nobody's ever drawn blood from me and nobody ever will.||You run THAT fast?|
|Have you stopped wearing diapers yet?||Why? Did you want to borrow one?|
|There are no words for how disgusting you are.||Yes, there are. You just never learned them.|
|You make me want to puke.||You make me think somebody already did.|
|My handkerchief will wipe up your blood!||So you got that job as janitor, after all.|
|I got this scar on my face during a mighty struggle!||I hope now you've learned to stop picking your nose.|
|I've heard you are a contemptible sneak.||Too bad no one's ever heard of YOU at all.|
|You're no match for my brains, you poor fool.||I'd be in real trouble if you ever used them.|
|You have the manners of a beggar.||I wanted to make sure you'd feel comfortable with me.|
|Now I know what filth and stupidity really are.||I'm glad to hear you attended your family reunion.|
|Every word you say to me is stupid.||I wanted to make sure you'd feel comfortable with me.|
|I've got a long, sharp lesson for you to learn today.||And I've got a little TIP for you. Get the POINT?|
|I will milk every drop of blood from your body!||How appropriate, you fight like a cow!|
|I've got the courage and skill of a master swordsman.||I'd be in real trouble if you ever used them.|
|My tongue is sharper than any sword.||First, you'd better stop waving it like a feather-duster.|
|My name is feared in every dirty corner of this island!||So you got that job as a janitor, after all.|
|My wisest enemies run away at the first sight of me!||Even BEFORE they smell your breath?|
|Only once have I met such a coward!||He must have taught you everything you know.|
|If your brother's like you, better to marry a pig.||You make me think somebody already did.|
|No one will ever catch ME fighting as badly as you do.||You run THAT fast?|
|My last fight ended with my hands covered with blood.||I hope now you've learned to stop picking your nose.|
|I hope you have a boat ready for a quick escape.||Why, did you want to borrow one?|
|My sword is famous all over the Caribbean!||Too bad no one's ever heard of YOU at all.|
|You are a pain in the backside, sir!||Your hemorrhoids are flaring up again, eh?|
|I usually see people like you passed-out on tavern floors.||1. Even BEFORE they smell your breath?
2. I'm glad to hear you attended your family reunion.
|There are no clever moves that can help you now.||Yes, there are. You just never learned them.|
Battling on Sea Insult and Comeback Examples
|Insult||Renee Rottingham's Insults||Comeback|
|Every enemy I've met I've annihilated!||My attacks have left entire islands depopulated!||With your breath, I'm sure they all suffocated.|
|You're as repulsive as a monkey in a negligee.||You have the sex appeal of a Shar-Pei.||I look THAT much like your fiancée?|
|Killing you would be justifiable homicide!||When I'm done, your body will be rotted and putrified!||Then killing you must be justifiable fungicide.|
|You're the ugliest monster ever created!||Your looks would make pigs nauseated.||
If you don't count all the ones you've dated.
|I'll skewer you like a sow at a buffet!||Your lips look like they belong on catch of the day!||When I'm done with you, you'll be a boneless filet.|
|Would you like to be buried, or cremated?||I give you a choice. You can be gutted, or decapitated!||With you around, I'd prefer to be fumigated.|
|Coming face to face with me must leave you petrified!||Never before have I seen someone so sissified!||Is that your face? I thought it was your backside.|
|When your father first saw you, he must have been mortified!||You're a disgrace to your species, you're so undignified!||
At least mine can be identified.
|You can't match my witty repartee!||Nothing can stop me from blowing you away!||I could, if you would use some breath spray.|
|I have never seen such clumsy swordplay!||I have never lost to a melee!||You would have, but you were always running away.|
|En garde! Touché!||Your mother wears a toupee!||Oh, that is so cliché.|
|Throughout the Caribbean, my great deeds are celebrated!||My skills with a sword are highly venerated!||Too bad they're all fabricated.|
|I can't rest 'til you've been exterminated!||Your stench would make an outhouse cleaner irritated!||Then perhaps you should switch to decaffeinated.|
|I'll leave you devastated, mutilated, and perforated!||I can't tell you which of my traits leaves you most intimidated.||Your odor alone makes me aggravated, agitated, and infuriated.|
|Heaven preserve me! You look like something that's died!||Nothing on this Earth can save your sorry hide!||The only way you'll be preserved is in formaldehyde.|
|I'll hound you night and day!||You'll find I am dogged and relentless to my prey!||Then be a good dog. Sit! Stay!|
- Many of the insults in SoMI were written by Orson Scott Card, the author of the 1985 book Ender's Game, and his children. His daughter Emily was responsible for the iconic "You fight like a dairy farmer!". Card was not made aware of the insult and reply dynamic however, so Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer had to fill the gaps and make sure the insults they had were suitable for the fights against generic pirates, and also against the alternate insults of the Sword Master.
- In ToMI, Threepwood can use the insult "Every enemy I've met I've annihilated" while dueling Morgan LeFlay. She gives the correct response.