Definition: A fawning subordinate; a suck-up
Origin: Someone who licks another person's spit is pretty low indeed. Incidentally, lickspittle keeps company with bootlicker ("someone who acts obsequiously").
Definition: A boastful and self-important person; a strutting little fellow.
Origin: If cockalorum suggests a crowing cock, that's because the word probably comes from kockeloeren – an obsolete Dutch dialect verb meaning "to crow."
Definition: An excessively faultfinding person
Origin: The original Smelfungus was a character in an 18th century novel who satirized the author of Travels through France and Italy, a hypercritical guidebook of that time.
Definition: An unprincipled but shrewd person
Origin: Though its origin remains unknown, one definition of the word dates to 1895, when a newspaper editor explained "a snollygoster is a fellow who wants office, regardless of party, platform or principles....
Definition: Ninny; simpleton, fool
Origin: Ninny is probably a shortening and alteration of "an innocent" and "hammer" adds punch. Writers who have used the word include J.R.R. Tolkien: "You're nowt but a ninnyhammer, Sam Gamgee."
Definition: A stubborn person who insists on making an error in spite of being shown that it is wrong.
Origin: This insult supposedly originated with an illiterate priest who said mumpsimus rather than sumpsimus ("we have taken" in Latin) during mass. When corrected, the priest would not change his pronunciation.
Definition: An unmanly man; a mollycoddle (a pampered or effeminate boy or man)
Origin: Milksop literally means "bread soaked in milk." Chaucer was among the earliest to use milksop to describe an unmanly man. The modern cousin of milksop, milquetoast, comes from Caspar Milquetoast, a timid cartoon character from the 1920s.
Definition: An awkward, gawky young man
Origin: Hobbledehoy rhymes with boy: that's an easy way to remember whom this 16th century term insults. Its origin is unknown; theories about its ancestry include hobble and hob (a term for "a clownish lout").
Definition: Shyster; a lawyer whose methods are underhanded or disreputable
Origin: Petti = petty. Fogger once meant lawyer in English.
Definition: A foolish or absentminded person
Origin: The original mooncalf was a false pregnancy, a growth in the womb supposedly influenced by a bad moon. Mooncalf then grew a sense outside the womb: simpleton. It also morphed into a literary word for a deformed monster. For instance, in Shakespeare's The Tempest, Stephano entreats Caliban, "Mooncalf, speak once in your life, if thou beest a good mooncalf."