15 Words That Will Make You Sound Smarter

Kid with glasses reading

Do you remember how exciting it was when you learned to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: didn’t you feel smart? Just because you're older, doesn't mean acronyms and emojis should be your main form of communication. After all, if you want to be successful in life, you have to make an unforgettable first impression.

Why Choice Words Are Important

Having a strong vocabulary allows you to communicate in a thoughtful and intelligent way.

Whether you're trying to land a job, impress your 3rd-period teacher, or nail a scholarship interview, your ability to choose your words carefully will help you stand out. But here’s something to consider: overusing complex language can turn people off, so it’s best to test out a few new words at a time and see what kind of reaction you get.

Chances are, you’ve seen (or maybe even used) a few of these words. And while there are hundreds of words that can make you sound smarter, some are definitely more fun (and easier) than others to use. So, the next time you're toe-to-toe with your AP English teacher, ditch the toady act and impress her with a few of these scintillating words instead.

Accolade: a mark of acknowledgement; an honor. Even though he received numerous accolades at the senior awards night, Ben is still one of the most humble people I know.

Acquiesce: to go along with something without protest, even if you don't really want to.

My grandma loves the ballet and bought tickets for us to go. I really wanted to watch the basketball game, but her sweet smile eventually caused me to acquiesce.

Bamboozle: conceal one’s true motives; to cheat or deceive another person. I got bamboozled by my buddy to buy him a pair of new shoes even though his mom picked up a pair yesterday.

Camaraderie: trust existing between friends who spend time together; a spirit of familiarity. There was a sense of camaraderie among the soccer team after they spent two weeks together at a wilderness camp.

Conundrum: a difficult problem. Looks like you have a bit of conundrum, but that's what happens when you cheat on a test and the teacher finds out.

Idyllic: peaceful, happy, pleasing. The outdoor classroom at our school is in an idyllic location because you can see the mountain range and several acres of forest from every open window.

Impeccable: faultless or without defect; incapable of wrongdoing. Have you ever had that one teacher who won’t accept any work unless it’s impeccable? There’s no way my essays are ever going to be that perfect.

Perfunctory: something done without much care or attention. You did a perfunctory job including descriptive words in this essay. Next time, I expect you to show more interest in what you are writing.

Ruminate: to think about something thoroughly and in great detail. People who struggle with anxiety tend to ruminate and fixate on their thoughts.

Tempestuous: identified by explosive conditions. My older brother’s tempestuous relationship with our mom has led to very little communication between the two of them.

Tenuous: very weak or slight and likely to change. We’re not sure if our boating store is going to survive this harsh winter season. Your employment will remain a bit tenuous until we know the total number of sales from this month.

Vacillate: to go back and forth between two points, waver between different opinions, or to be indecisive. When I ask my sister where she’s going to college, she vacillates between her two favorite schools; but I know she will eventually make the best decision for her.

Vitriolic: harsh or corrosive in tone. The student body election turned into an argument reaching vitriolic levels. The two candidates ended their speeches by shouting harmful words at each other.

Wheelhouse: a metaphor for an individuals area of comfort or expertise. I need you to cover this story about the construction at our school, even though it’s not in your wheelhouse.

Zealous: displaying or feeling energetic support for a person, cause, etc.. My neighbor has been a zealous supporter of animal rights for as long as I’ve known her.

**Main resource for definitions: https://www.merriam-webster.com

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Lindberg, Sara. "15 Words That Will Make You Sound Smarter." ThoughtCo, Nov. 17, 2017, thoughtco.com/words-that-will-make-you-sound-smarter-4147291. Lindberg, Sara. (2017, November 17). 15 Words That Will Make You Sound Smarter. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/words-that-will-make-you-sound-smarter-4147291 Lindberg, Sara. "15 Words That Will Make You Sound Smarter." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/words-that-will-make-you-sound-smarter-4147291 (accessed December 15, 2017).