A politician who wields a comeback with skill can use it as both a bludgeon and a shield, damaging the opponent without hurting their own popularity with voters.
It's all about context.
For more than two centuries, one particular epithet has resonated through US politics – and even helped inspire the unofficial mascot of a major political party.
A cognitive scientist observes that the words that bother college-age Americans today can cause harm.
Dealing successfully with rudeness can help people develop resilience and confidence.
Whether it frustrates or motivates your opponent can depend on the situation.
Calls to impose harsh prison sentences for verbal crimen injuria are often premised on the need to deter such behaviour.
Dehumanizing insults have become more common in political discourse. Psychology research has shown that they can prime us for violence – and even change our brains.
The Korean peninsula has a lengthy history of exchanging insults.
With the Trump presidency we may be entering a golden age of insult and name-calling. Trump is exercising leadership in this regard with about 300 people, places and things feeling his sting.