We use "criticism of", "comments on/about", but what preposition should follow the noun 'insult'? I've searched through multiple dictionary entries but had no luck finding any relevant examples. Here is my context:

  • Thomas' insults ... the minority group provoked considerable controversy.

Even though I found a lot of example sentences using the preposition 'to', my impression is that the 'to' after 'insult' serves to limit the word's effect to a certain individual/group. Like if I say 'It's an insult to me', I am basically stating that I feel disrespected by something said or done, but that thing isn't NECESSARILY consciously directed at me (which is what I wanted to express). Is this line of thought correct?

  • 1
    "of" or "to" (the latter with an implied verb "delivered") Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 14:17
  • 1
    I think something meaning about is better. I would use regarding.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 20:24
  • @user3169, it's interesting that 'insults' doesn't seem to have a preposition that we would strongly associate it with. Perhaps the construction I have provided isn't in common use?
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 1:36
  • You should add this information to your question, along with some of the "to" examples you found.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 3:53

1 Answer 1


Since "insults" is clearly negative, I'd use against.

Another alternative would be toward(s).

The latter would be more in line with "to", which is defined as the usual preposition in the Oxford Collocations Dictionary:

Insult to

"to" sounds to me to be better when "insult" is in the singular. The reason might be that the specificity of "(one) insult" also requires a specific addressee for whom such an insult is intended, and this directness is better conveyed by "to".


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