Sherlock Holmes is a difficult man. That's no revelation, but with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' hugely successful 21st Century re-imagining of the legendary detective's adventures there's one aspect of the man's nature they've fleshed out and ran with further than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ever did his ability to insult or belittle anyone and everyone around him.
Offered up mostly in moments of frustration, his cutting jibes range from savage to hilarious, and nobody is safe from criticism be it his motherly landlady Mrs. Hudson or his best friend and partner in crime-solving John Watson. In fact, with the digs coming so thick and fast it's a wonder Sherlock's circle of friends has grown rather than shrunk in the four years since he arrived on our screens.
This article comprises ten of the best, most biting and unforgettable insults ever uttered by Mr. Holmes, and it should go without saying that choosing just a handful from the many was no easy task. The list is presented in chronological order although, as will be demonstrated, his way with words has undoubtedly improved as the series has progressed.
Directed At: Lestrade & John
Slightly lifted from Steven Moffat's Doctor Who episode The Doctor Dances, this line far more suits his cold, sarcastic re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes than it does the good-natured Time Lord. Marking his imperfect protagonist out as rude and disagreeable as early as possible, Sherlock at the first crime scene the audience are invited to belittles the intelligence of the two men whom he can eventually consider friends.
It's not a personal attack he's clearly lumping Lestrade and John in with the majority of humanity, but the hubris attached to such a generalisation makes this line even more astounding. It's also a crucial moment in the audience identification of Sherlock's character he's completely immodest regarding his abilities, and very much considers himself a God among men (but at least he's savagely funny in pointing it out). It's a huge measure of John's loyalty and admiration to his friend that he'll overlook slights like these time and again.