Reading in the Station

A Complete Ranking of Insults to Mr. Grinch


How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a holiday stable in my family, in all of its glorious forms. I adore Dr. Seuss, so the the book is an absolute must, while the classic cartoon version brings the spirit of that book to life with child-like whimsy. And though I’m not generally a Jim Carey fan, the way the more modern adaptation brings the Whos to life is fun, and if I find a channel running it in December, it’s impossible to flip away.

And, of course, You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch is a prominent feature on my holiday playlist, in numerous varied renditions, it’s a classic. Dr. Seuss may not have written the song himself (that would be Albert Hague) but it definitely captures the Seuss’s signature wacky twist to language that I adore. Of course, this song is the Grinchiest of all Christmas songs. It is full of insults. It’s awful. With this kind of language flying around, it is no wonder this Grinch was so vey Grinch-y. But they are …. awfully creative.

Here is a listing of every insult in the song, ranked by creativity, from least to greatest.

You really are a heel – Starting off pretty light here. A heel? Okay.

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch – Foul? What is this, an Obama dad joke?

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch – Now here is a proper insult. Monster! But, alas, no real creative flair to this one.

You’re as charming as an eel – Having never met an eel, I cannot testify to the accuracy of this particular insult, but the tone is clear in its implications.

Your brain is full of spiders – This just makes me squirm, without delivering a clear criticism.

You’re as cuddly as a cactus – Definitely offers a vivid mental image. Cringe.

Your heart’s an empty hole – Okay now, this is getting a bit graphic for a children’s story.

You’ve got garlic in your soul – God, are we eating him? This insult brings new meaning to the phrase “roast beast.”

You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce! – Arsenic sauce: For all your home murdering needs. (And yes, the exclamation point is part of the original lyrics.)

Your heart is full of unwashed socks – Gross.

Your soul is full of gunk – Grosser.

You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel. – So. Very. Specific. Grossest.

You’re a nasty, wasty skunk.
Rhyming = double meanness points.

You’re a crooked jerky jockey and you drive a crooked horse – Tweet: “Crooked Grinch stole all those Who’s presents! Not nice!

You nauseate me, Mr Grinch with a noxious super nos – What is that, Latin? Put-downs sting extra when you don’t even know what they mean.

The three words that best describe you, are, and I quote: “Stink. Stank. Stunk.”
Not only is this the most memorable line of the song, but it indicates not just present stinking, but also stink as a permanent state, indefinitely into the past. Ouch.

    Emily Wenstrom

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