An utterance intended to cast censure or reproach; vehement denunciation; an insulting word or utterance.
The art of invective resembles the art of boxing. Very few fights are won with the straight left. It is too obvious, and it can be too easily countered. The best punches, like the best pieces of invective in this style, are either short-arm jabs, unexpectedly rapid and deadly; or else one-two blows, where you prepare your opponent with the first hit, and then, as his face comes forward, connect with your other fist: one, two. Both are effective; but they can be administered only by a real artist, with a real wish to knock his enemy out.
—Gilbert Highet “The Art of Invective” A Clerk of Oxenford: Essays on Literature and Life (1954)