What is vituperation?

Vituperio is a term derived from the Latin vituperĭum. According to the first meaning of the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), an insult is an insult, an insult or an infamy that is pronounced against a person.

For example: “After the president’s words, the insults were immediately heard throughout the venue”, “I don’t care about the insults from the fans: I do my job with professionalism and the managers of this club are satisfied with my task”, ” The lawyer’s insult surprised me. “Vituperia is an expression of rejection or criticism. Let us suppose that the mayor of a municipality does not enjoy the sympathy of the people for having been denounced for corruption. The city he manages, moreover, is suffering a major economic crisis. Therefore, it is not surprising that, when participating in the inauguration of a park, many neighbors dedicate various insults to him, letting him know the discontent that exists in relation to him.

There are different ways to express vituperation. It may be aloud vituperation: that is, they are pronounced aloud or shouted. Written insults can also occur, either in the form of a letter, in a note or even through an article published in the press. Nowadays, it is also common to find insults on the Internet: social networks, in fact, have become frequent spaces for insults and aggression. The need to violate ourselves against everything that does not match our ideas seems to be in our nature, and this is especially appreciated on the Internet, where we can abandon our legal identity, our insecurities and blocks to be ourselves. No matter how hard moderate groups try to spread an atmosphere of openness and dialogue, shouting, name-calling and teasing always turn any conversation into a heated and aimless discussion. One of the most common forms of Internet vituperation is the meme, a graphic composition that is brought to ridicule someone or express negative ideas against a product or company, among other possibilities. In general, memes are built with photos manipulated by editing, although the most elaborate can contain absolutely original art, such as three-dimensional drawings or models made by the authors themselves. Today, it is known that any mistake or incident involving a famous politician, businessman or artist will lead to the creation of dozens of memes, and many of them go beyond a simple joke. The same happens when an entertainment company advertises a product that doesn’t meet all the expectations of its followers: from slurs to death threats, fans have no limits to express their displeasure.

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It should be noted that expressions such as “Praise in your own mouth is an insult” or “Praise in your own mouth is an insult” refer to those who highlight their supposed merits in the face of criticism made by others. Although it is not related to the previous one, in Chile it is customary to say “to take a vituperio” to refer to an aperitif, a cocktail or a snack. As the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy does not include this meaning in its definition of injury, it is necessary to turn to other sources of research to understand the origin of such use. One of the explanations refers to a well-known Chilean comedian of the mid-20th century, nicknamed Firulete , who intentionally altered the pronunciation of words in his performances; on the other hand, some point out that it may be malapropism, that is, the erroneous substitution of one term for another simply because of their similarity.

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