The master of the witty put-down was Winston Churchill, whose catalogue of catty comments was far richer than his famous retort to a woman who condemned him for being drunk.
In America during the 1990s, one of the most childish, and entertaining, forms of put-down was created on the streets and then immortalised in scores of teen movies.
Politicians and celebrities alike are keeping catty comments off-the-record, leaving club culture and the next generation to create a new style of put-downs.
These days the art of parliamentary put-downs has mostly been replaced with political spin and politicians prefer to take their potshots at each other in the press and on lobby terms.
What emerges from a careful reading is a shrewd woman whose frequent sarcasm and deprecation--directed at herself and at others--seem to be in part a reaction to suffering a lifetime of quiet put-downs
To guard against this type of put-down, try at all times to listen to your staff members and show that you are interested in them--make an effort particularly when you have a lot of things on your mind that could preoccupy you.
They don't realize that a put-down doesn't have to be abusive.
Because of this, threats are a particularly harmful kind of put-down.
On a percentage-of-content basis, Spy is more fully devoted to the put-down than any other American periodical.
But Spy's enforcement of the meritocratic code dissolves, finally, into an elaborate put-down game meant to signal superior taste to everyone-and most particularly to other members of the meritocracy, who worry greatly that they, too, will be exposed as lacking.
The offensiveness of the object of the put-down is meant to be self-evident, though it often is not.
The effects of the put-down
and the pose can be grave.
And for any girl on the receiving end of attention from an unwanted suitor, RACHEL DOBSON has got some ego-crushing put-downs
certain to rout any Romeo.