The Perl Toolchain Summit needs more sponsors. If your company depends on Perl, please support this very important event.


Acme::Scurvy::Whoreson::BilgeRat - multi-lingual insult generator


  use Acme::Scurvy::Whoreson::BilgeRat;
  my $insultgenerator = Acme::Scurvy::Whoreson::BilgeRat->new(
    language => 'pirate'
  print $insultgenerator; # prints a piratical insult


A multi-lingual insult generator, which takes pluggable backends to generate insults in the language of your choice, written in honour of International Talk Like A Pirate Day on Sept 19th 2003 An example backend is provided which implements the 'pirate' language.

Usage is very simple. Instantiate an Acme::Scurvy::Whoreson::BilgeRat object, passing a single named parameter - 'language' - to the constructor. This tells it to use the A::S::W::B::Backend::[language] plugin module. If that is missing, we assume you want the 'pirate' backend.

To generate an insult, simply mention your object in any place where it will be turned into a string. It uses the AWESOME POWER of operator overloading to achieve this heroic feat.


So, on to the most complex part of all this, which thankfully isn't that complex.

To create a plugin, you create a bog-standard module, whose name is Acme::Scurvy::Whoreson::BilgeRat::Backend::[your language name]. It should be a subclass of A::S::W::B. The constructor should return a blessed object and must be called new(). You then have two options:

use the built-in insult generator

In this case, you simply need to define a suitable grammar and list of words to generate insults from. You do this by having new() return a blessed hashref with the following keys:


A reference to a list of strings, each of which is a grammar describing a valid way of constructing an insult, and may consist of the letters 'A' and 'N'. A grammar is chosen at random when we generate an insult. For each part of the grammar, a random adjective is chosen for each 'A' and a random noun is chosen for each 'N'.


A list of nouns.


A list of adjectives.

You may have words appearing in both the nouns and the adjectives lists. The default insult generator will ensure that it never uses the same word twice in any one insult. Of course, there are some situations where there are simply not enough nouns or adjectives in the grammar, in which case an empty insult is generated.

supply your own insult generator

In many cases, the default insult generator won't be sufficient for your language, as you may need to decline your nouns and adjectives or do other weird and wonderful manipulations. In this case, you need to override the generateinsult() method. This is a bog-standard method, which will be called with exactly one parameter - a reference to the object. You must return a string from this method. How you generate that string is entirely up to you, and you may need to do something different from what I have described above in the constructor. The only limitation on the constructor for a backend is that it *must* return something that inherits from A::S::W::B, and it will not be supplied with any parameters at all other than its own class name.

See the A::S::W::B::Backend::pirate module for an example.


No bugs are known, but if you find any please let me know, and send a test case and - if possible - a patch.


I welcome feedback about my code, including constructive criticism. And, while this is free software (both free-as-in-beer and free-as-in-speech) I also welcome payment. In particular, your bug reports will get moved to the front of the queue if you buy me something from my wishlist, which can be found at


David Cantrell <>


Copyright 2003 David Cantrell

This module is free-as-in-speech software, and may be used, distributed, and modified under the same terms as Perl itself.