So I was watching a video on youtube (https://youtu.be/hfXXbmTpkrw?t=377) where the "host" of the show (I don't know if you can call him that) is commentating on a video of a famous youtube personality being offensive to one of his fans. He uses this sentence:

(the "host" of the show): He's being incredibly insultive to the guy.

Now, why didn't he use the adjective insulting to refer to the guy, as in:

He's just being incredibly insulting to the guy.

Mind you, I wasn't able to find a definition of the word "insultive" in many well-known dictionaries online such as, Cambridge, Collins, Or Webster, but some lesser known dictionaries provid a definition, stating that it's synonymous with insulting.

Also https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/insultive says about it:

This word (insultive) is about 0.01% as common as insulting and does not appear in most dictionaries.

I also did an Ngram look-up which confirmed the above.

is the use of "insultive" totally and utterly wrong? should it be avoided?

  • 3
    If your goal is to be understood by other people, I'd stick with "insulting."
    – user888379
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 22:42
  • 3
    I have never heard of the word insultive. It sounds illiterate to me. Don't use it!
    – TonyK
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 22:43
  • 2
    I just looked at the video, and I think insultive is simply a disfluency -- the wrong sounds came out of his mouth.
    – TonyK
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 22:53
  • Perhaps, but that could only be the case if you weren't able to find instances of the word, however few, on the internet. The word is definitely in use by people, however, it's not as common as "insulting" now my question is, is it OK to use a word which is not vastly popular without getting called illiterate? After all it does take a while for new words to gain in popularity, doesn't it?
    – Fermichem
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 23:04
  • 1
    It's not just that "insultive" is less popular or less common, it is extremely uncommon, only 0.01% as common as "insulting" according to your source. It's not in most dictionaries. I think most people would consider it incorrect. So why would you want to use it when you know the correct word?
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


The speaker seems to be thinking too hard. He is describing the description and in doing so has built a word in the process. Rather than insulting he has come across insultive. A description of the tendency attributed to the host.

From Dictionary.com;

In using a suffix of adjectives (and nouns of adjectival origin) expressing tendency, disposition, function, connection, etc.: active; corrective; destructive; detective; passive; sportive.

and no doubt restive.


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