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The 10 Most Devastating Burns Ever Delivered By Winston Churchill

Updated August 9, 2019 38.2k votes 5.9k voters 123.9k views10 items

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Winston Churchill carried Britain through World War II. He inspired the public with his oratorical skills, and he took his political enemies down a peg with razor-sharp wit. Churchill used language to his advantage, relying on one-liners to accomplish previously unimagined feats.

Although the former prime minister is known for his famous quotes, he has used the power of speech to burn quite a few innocent bystanders. In fact, Churchill seemed to poke fun at his peers indiscriminately. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn't spared. Perhaps, Britain's mouthpiece just verbally sparred with people to keep his wits sharp, though. Churchill was known to poke fun at himself on occasion. 

  • 1

    He Told A Woman He'd Rather Die Than Be Her Spouse

    Photo: Bain News Source / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Clever as he was, Winston Churchill didn't mind borrowing a good quip, if the need arose. In fact, when a political woman (that many believe was former Parliament member Nancy Astor) insulted him, Churchill used an older joke to burn her right back. The woman, angry that she couldn't outtalk the prime minister, allegedly said, “Oh, if you were my husband, I’d put poison in your tea."

    Not one to be outdone, Churchill supposedly rejoined, "Madame, if I were [your husband], I’d drink it with pleasure.” 

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  • 2

    He Prioritized Taking A Poo Over Receiving A Call From A UK Official

    Photo: United States Government / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    No one likes to be disturbed while relieving himself or herself in the bathroom. Even Prime Minister Winston Churchill objected to such intrusions. While he was occupied in this manner, Churchill received a call from the Lord Privy seal.

    The prime minister instructed his attendant to, “Tell him I can only deal with one sh*t at a time.”

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  • 3

    He Doubted That George Bernard Shaw Would Have A Successful Play

    Photo: Davart Company / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    George Bernard Shaw, the noted playwright behind classics like Pygmalion, once invited Winston Churchill out to see one of his theatrical works. Shaw sent tickets with a note that read, "Have two tickets for opening night. Bring a friend, if you have one."

    Churchill was never one to let a jibe stand unanswered. He reportedly replied to Shaw, "Impossible to come to first night. Will come to second night, if you have one."

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  • 4

    He Called A Politician Ugly When She Criticized His Drinking

    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Many people knew that Winston Churchill liked a good drink. His constituents didn't always appreciate Churchill's tastes, however. On one occasion, British Labor Party politician Bessie Braddock could not hold back a criticism of his drinking habits. She stated, “Winston, you are drunk, and what’s more, you are disgustingly drunk.”

    Churchill replied, "My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly."

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