Other than butthurt
March 24, 2010 9:42 PM   Subscribe

I need a non-vulgar synonym for butthurt. Canonical english and neologisms both are welcome.

I can get most of the way to butthurt with "aggrieved" but that doesn't convey enough of the petty aggression arising from butthurtitude. Petulance is, of course, part of the butthurt behavior, but doesn't carry with it the same post-insult retaliation meaning.
Things I'd like to avoid: implications of sodomy and use of profanity.
Thing I'd like to capture: sentiment and sensibiility of butthurtfull behavior, such that I can use the word in polite conversation (read: with my boss et al) and be understood and still reasonably couth.
posted by Cold Lurkey to Writing & Language (51 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:44 PM on March 24, 2010

"feathers ruffled"
posted by 256 at 9:45 PM on March 24, 2010

posted by holgate at 9:46 PM on March 24, 2010

posted by MsMolly at 9:49 PM on March 24, 2010

Oh, and incidentally, butthurt is such a great new word because no other expression really captures the meaning. If you want to get the exact sense, you're going to have to use a more complicated construction like "got his feelings hurt and started kicking things."
posted by 256 at 9:53 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Cut to the quick.
posted by pompomtom at 9:59 PM on March 24, 2010

I've heard this described as 'cutting to the quick' or 'cut to the bone.'

-knicker-knotted, knicker-twisted

And to repurpose a word that Berke Breathed coined, 'offensensitivity.'
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:03 PM on March 24, 2010

Jinx, pompomtom.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:03 PM on March 24, 2010

Pride tantrum?
posted by birdsquared at 10:07 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Got his undies all a-twist.
posted by Chanther at 10:10 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

In a snit.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:19 PM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

Does "pissy" count as profanity? Snotty, maybe.
posted by Mizu at 10:26 PM on March 24, 2010

Yeah, there have been hundreds of years of butthurt people, so the English language has anticipated this issue. Sticherbeast is correct. People can be in a snit, they can be in high dudgeon, whatever, without having to refer to the butt.
posted by thelastenglishmajor at 10:30 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Struck a nerve.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:32 PM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's one Keatingism I thought of imediately, on former Australian Opposition Leader John Hewson:
This is the sort of little-boy, stamp your foot stuff which comes from a financial yuppie when you shoe him into parliament.
Nobody created butthurt like PJK.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:41 PM on March 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

UKisms often come in handy. I'm a big fan of gutted. "I feel absolutely gutted that we've lost the contract to those total jerks at the other firm, boss."
posted by koeselitz at 10:46 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Maybe a better one for what you're talking about: het up.
posted by koeselitz at 11:00 PM on March 24, 2010

posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:10 PM on March 24, 2010

put out

"He was really put out by that."

It variously means vexed, annoyed, confused, embarrassed, inconvenienced
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:10 PM on March 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Nose out of joint.
posted by samthemander at 11:20 PM on March 24, 2010

Sour grapes?
posted by ktrey at 11:22 PM on March 24, 2010

posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:22 PM on March 24, 2010

UKisms often come in handy.

But 'gutted' conveys more passivity about the aggrievance: by the time you're gutted, you're not really protesting. 'Het up' is too much the other way. Narked might be closer, or hacked off, but that doesn't get there either. Ticked off, bent out of shape. Got a paddy on. Something that conveys the temper-tantrum nature of it.

Oh, I know: spat your dummy out. (Or pacifier.) Threw your toys out of the pram. (Or stroller.) It really helps if you have the British names for things like this.
posted by holgate at 11:24 PM on March 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

All bent out of shape.

Whenever I hear or say this phrase, I think of someone all hunched over and scowling, stomping around and muttering oaths to themselves.
posted by Commander Rachek at 12:14 AM on March 25, 2010

"Panties in a bunch", as in "Don't get your panties in a bunch". That's kind of sexist, though.
posted by delmoi at 1:52 AM on March 25, 2010

I'm a fan of hemorrhoidal.

Although, that doesn't avoid the distinct butt reference.
posted by chrisbucks at 2:28 AM on March 25, 2010

"Hissy fit"
posted by lungtaworld at 2:37 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just me, but I think being "distressed" implies having hurt feelings or mental anguish, but with a hint of being unsettled or restless or frustrated/aggravated about it. (So there's the potential for physical/verbal aggression.)
posted by sentient at 3:04 AM on March 25, 2010


and/or overwrought.
posted by medea42 at 3:16 AM on March 25, 2010

I've been hissyfitting quite a bit lately, myself.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:38 AM on March 25, 2010

in a strop/stroppy?
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:03 AM on March 25, 2010

posted by seanmpuckett at 6:46 AM on March 25, 2010

'Snit' seems closest to me, in terms of words that actually exist. Especially good is 'pitching a snit,' as my dad used to say... great assonance.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:52 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

What's wrong with "his feelings are hurt"?
posted by browse at 6:53 AM on March 25, 2010


I think it's odd that Urban Dictionary says "Upset, embarrassed or indignant as a result of humiliation or wrong-doing by another person. Salty was most often heard in Chicago up to about the mid-nineties." We said it growing up in suburban Philadelphia.

I always think it makes sense, because even someone not familiar with its usage might properly interpret it. Salty, to me, automatically implies salt in an emotional wound.
posted by bunnycup at 7:03 AM on March 25, 2010

I like "In a snit" as it brings with it the connotation that the reaction is out of proportion and is also somewhat childlike. Also it sounds vaguely dirty without actually being impolite.
posted by amethysts at 7:20 AM on March 25, 2010

When I was a kid & displayed what would now be termed butthurt behavior, my mother would say "Enough with the snit fit." or "Don't get your undies in a bunch." Undies is less sexist than panties, and "snit fit" conveys the whiny, aggressive, tantrum aspect.
posted by SamanthaK at 7:29 AM on March 25, 2010

posted by xena at 8:10 AM on March 25, 2010

"His delicate sensibilities were offended."

Another that I recently discovered is the British expression "Spit the dummy" (dummy = pacifier, for the Yanks). It's very evocative for anyone who's ever seen a baby spit out a pacifier so he can take a deep breath and commence a tantrum.
posted by ROTFL at 8:45 AM on March 25, 2010

in a huff?
posted by crocomancer at 8:50 AM on March 25, 2010

Also, regional UK-ism, but we used to say someone was "mardy" for this situation when I was a child.
posted by crocomancer at 8:57 AM on March 25, 2010

There isn't one. That's why it's in use. I highly doubt anyone thinks you're suggesting they've ben anally raped. In fact, I balked at the idea that that's where it came from, because it makes very little sense, but according to a whole spectrum of internets that is indeed where it's from.
posted by cmoj at 10:10 AM on March 25, 2010

Uggh, now I have to explore all my own feelings and impressions about the word "butthurt".

I recently had an incident that I got all butthurt about, and I'm still feeling the sting, so as people offer up suggestions in this thread I've been inserting those words into my lexicon to see if they work. And they just don't feel right.

Butthurt might have some overlap with the whole "you've got a real stick up your butt" idea, where there's this sense of really clinging to the offensiveness of the incident.
posted by redsparkler at 11:09 AM on March 25, 2010

posted by koeselitz at 11:14 AM on March 25, 2010

Seconding "spat the dummy." It's got rage, childishness, and impotence all in one package. "Spat the passie" is good, but there's something about the double meaning of "dummy" which makes this one sing.
posted by firstdrop at 11:16 AM on March 25, 2010

I don't get aggro from butthurt. Maybe a new word can be coined. Butthurt connotes an oh-poor-me or why-you-dq-me message to me.

So, being as Winnie's buddy Eeyore used that term, I propose...


Don't get all eeyored over it.
posted by tonebarge at 11:24 AM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by The corpse in the library at 2:20 PM on March 25, 2010

Okay so it seems my suspicion (that there is no synonym for butthurt that has the same potency) is essentially confirmed, by 256, cmoj and redsparkler.
I thought of sour grapes, ktrey, except that the that is supposed to arise from jealousy, rather than a real or perceived offense or pwnage. The outcome is essentially the same though.
bunnycup: Salty, well, I know so many ways that salty could be intrepreted, (one being salty language, which is the very thing I'm trying to avoid har har) But salty in the sense you're suggesting is also pretty close to it, at least when I've heard it used.

In my mind, butthurt isn't pitching any sort of snit, fit, rattle or dummie. It's not a tantrum, is it? I think of it as indignant bitchiness from an inflated/overblown insult or cause. But, then again there's no firm definition of it yet... so we can all be correct.

The corpse in the library: while yes, that does essentially say butthurt, it could only be used as an allusion. This only works for people who already knew the word, and I'm needing to communicate beyond that population.

I'm still trying to think along neologistic lines. The best I can come up with right now is "salty grapes". Which is weak, I admit.

argh, snitty grapes? spat the passie and slapped your mammy? being a bitchbutt? whingepantsy? Any other coinages?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:13 PM on March 25, 2010

Sorry, I was being a smartass, and I hope that didn't leave you in a high dudgeon or drunk with choler.

There are some doozies here, in the 1911 Roget's Thesaurus.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:25 PM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

oh! there you go, a smarting ass. no wait, that's still butthurt.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:14 PM on March 25, 2010

You can say someone was being "titchy".
posted by shesaysgo at 10:32 PM on March 25, 2010

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