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Offbeat

Pillock, plonker and tosspot among British insults ‘at risk of dying out’

Prat, plonker and pillock are among British insults in danger of dying out within a generation, according to a survey.

The poll asked 2,000 people which insults they recognised and found some had never heard of put-downs such as tosspot and toerag.

Top of the list was lummox – which flummoxed 62% of people under 28 years old – and means a clumsy or stupid person.

However, just over half of all those surveyed – of all ages – had never heard of the East Anglian term.

‘Blighter’ was third on the list and stumped 54% of young people, ‘ninny’ – a light-hearted word for a silly person – was unknown by 51%.

Cad – a man who behaves dishonestly, especially towards women – drew a blank with nearly half of people.

Fans of Only Fools And Horses might also be disappointed that plonker, one of Del Boy’s regular cusses towards his brother Rodney, was unknown by a quarter of the younger generation.

The same proportion had no idea prat is an insult, according to the survey by research agency Perspectus Global.

Many of the insults appear rather inoffensive however, as only one in five of all people surveyed said they would be upset if they were called a plonker or pillock.

“Language changes, evolves and moves on,” said Harriet Scott, CEO of Perspectus Global.

“Our research shows that calling someone a plonker or a prat is no longer a fashionable way to insult them.

“Interestingly, the research highlights the extent to which Brits feel some of the more traditional jibes, feel softer and less severe, than some of today’s more controversial ones.”

The British insults unknown by younger people, according to the poll are:

  1. Lummox (62%)
  2. Bampot (60%)
  3. Blighter (54%)
  4. Ninny (51%)
  5. Cad (47%)
  6. Drip (42%)
  7. Tosspot (36%)
  8. Toe rag (34%)
  9. Pillock (33%
  10. Plonker (25%)
  11. Nitwit (27%)
  12. Prat (25%)
  13. Scallywag (26%)
  14. Git (26%)
  15. Numpty (22%)

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