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Rendered art by Little Dragon Kid (2020).

Rudeness or insolence is failure to follow social laws or etiquette, i.e. the terms of socially correct behavior. It is closely related to discourtesy, impoliteness, disrespect, inconsiderateness and ill-manneredness. Such behavior, and the person doing it, is disapprovingly called rude by the people who take offense at it.

Children are usually taught by their parents and educators which behavior is considered acceptable/correct (by their standards) and which is considered rude. Failure to follow these standards, especially if repeated after a stern warning, may result in reproof and/or punishment for rudeness.

There are no general rules for politeness and rudeness. The views (as well as the consequences) vary by culture and setting. Even within the same culture and era, they can and will be slightly different from family to family.


  • rude speech
  • antisocial behaviors
  • rude body actions
  • bad table manners
  • noisemaking/disturbances

Refer to the Wikipedia article "Rudeness" (link below) for more detailed examples.

Politeness and rudeness[edit]

Politeness is often expressed by lowering one's own status (e.g. verbally and in body language). Consequently, it can be considered rude if a person behaves as if he/she had a higher status (e.g. by disrespectful speech).

Sometimes, people of higher status in a hierarchy are permitted behavior that would be considered rude if the same was done by a person of lower status. The deliberate refraining from politeness can be used to convey familiarity, but also to convey one's own authority.

For example, common general rules of politeness include:

  • knock before you enter
  • greet people
  • don't interrupt people
  • speak respectfully, use polite forms of address
  • always be friendly, e.g. don't let your anger out on people
  • don't order people about, ask politely if you want something
  • thank people who have done you a favor
  • apologize to people you have offended
  • ask for permission before you touch a person's belongings
  • don't mock people
  • don't openly criticise people
  • don't accuse people
  • don't embarrass or humiliate people
  • don't threaten people
  • don't let people wait
  • respect people's privacy
  • don't ask too personal questions
  • don't touch people without mutual agreement
  • don't hurt people's feelings

In traditional society, a parent or teacher can break any of these rules in regard to children under their authority - in particular whenever it is felt necessary that an recalcitrant child is taught submission and obedience. In other words, traditional society accepts authority figures to speak to their subordinates in ways they would never permit them to speak to themselves. This principle is found in many spanking stories to establish the high and low status of characters, and can also be used well in roleplay for the same purpose.

However note that breaking common rules of politeness is not the same as showing bad manners. Actually, people of higher status are also expected to show better manners than those of lower status. So the trick, which is not always easy to achieve, is to break rules of politeness in a well-mannered way. Well-chosen words and eloquence are part of the secret.

See also[edit]