List of 124 Words That Will Make You Sound Smart

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Want some words to use to make you appear more intelligent? Take a look at this list of relevant examples. In this collection, you'll find words that make you sound smart.
accolade An expression of acknowledgment or praise; an award.
acrimony Ill feeling or bitterness.
ambivalent Being in two minds or having mixed feelings.
angst An unfocused feeling of deep anxiety or dread.
anomaly An exception to the norm.
antidote A substance that stops the effects of a poison.
aquiver Quivering, usually with emotion.
avant-garde Experimental or radically original.
baroque An ornate artistic and musical style from the 17th and 18th centuries.
bona fide Genuine; authentic.
boondoggle Valueless work done to create the appearance of activity.
bourgeois Of the middle class.
bravado A display of swaggering boldness.
brogue A tough, leather shoe.
brusque Curt, abrupt, or blunt.
byzantine Extremely complicated, involving excessive bureaucracy or red tape.
cacophony A loud and confusing assortment of sounds.
cajole To repeatedly coax or flatter a person.
camaraderie Friendship and mutual trust between two or more individuals.
capricious Given to sudden unexplained changes of behavior.
carte blanche License to act as one wishes.
catch-22 An inescapable situation created by contradictory or absurd rules.
caustic Extremely critical, incisive, or sarcastic.
charisma Personal charm capable of influencing people.
chic Fashionable, smart, or elegant.
cloying Excessively sweet.
dapper Elegant or smart.
déjà vu The experience of feeling like a certain event has happened before.
dichotomy A division between two diametrically opposed things.
didactic Designed or intended to teach.
dilettante A dabbler; an amateur without serious commitment.
disheveled Messy; extremely untidy.
elan Style and enthusiasm; vigorous energy.
elucidate To explain at greater length.
empathy The ability to relate to the feelings of others.
ennui Listlessness and boredom or dissatisfaction.
epitome A typical example of something.
equanimity Composure in the face of adversity.
equivocate To stall or be deliberately ambiguous or misleading.
esoteric Only understood by a small group of people with specific knowledge.
euphemism An inoffensive way of expressing something unpalatable.
exacerbate To make a bad situation worse.
fait accompli An accomplishment that cannot be reversed.
fastidious Concerned with attention to detail.
faux pas A gaffe or act betraying social awkwardness.
fiasco A complete, farcical failure.
finagle To obtain or achieve something in an underhand manner.
flabbergasted Extremely shocked and baffled.
flummoxed Totally confused and not knowing what to do.
fortuitous Fortunate; happening by chance.
Freudian slip A verbal slip that reveals the speaker's subconscious wishes.
glib Fluent and superficially convincing but lacking substance.
gregarious Sociable; enjoying the company of others.
harbinger An omen or indicator of a future event.
hedonist One motivated purely by sensory pleasure.
heresy A belief that is contrary to the orthodoxy of a religion.
hyperbole An exaggeration or overstatement.
idiosyncrasy A quirk or eccentricity.
idyllic Extremely serene, beautiful, and/or peaceful, often of a time or place.
indelicate Somewhat inappropriate.
infinitesimal Infinitely small.
innocuous Harmless; without malice.
insidious Operating in a concealed and usually harmful way.
junket An extravagant trip or celebration, usually by a public official at taxpayer expense.
kitsch Garish, campy, or sentimental art, often appreciated ironically.
litany A repetitive series of recitals.
lurid Overly colorful or vivid; sensationalistic.
Machiavellian Unscrupulous, cunning, or amoral, often in relation to politics.
malaise An overall feeling of uneasiness or listlessness.
malinger To exaggerate or fake sickness in order to avoid responsibilities.
mantra A regularly repeated slogan or motto.
maudlin Self-pityingly emotional, sometimes while inebriated.
mellifluous Sweet or pleasing to hear.
mercenary A soldier of fortune; an individual motivated solely by money.
misnomer An inappropriate or incorrect name.
narcissist A self-obsessed person.
nefarious Wicked or malignant.
nirvana A state of transcendence; an idealized location.
non sequitur A response or conclusion unrelated to what comes before.
nouveau riche A newly rich person, often perceived as lacking in social graces by those with rich backgrounds.
obfuscate To make confusing or unclear.
oblivion A state of complete forgetfulness, of being completely forgotten, or of extinction.
obtuse Slow-witted or slow to understand.
ogle To stare amorously.
ostentatious Designed to impress and attract attention.
ostracize To exclude from a community or society.
panacea A supposed remedy for many different diseases or problems.
paradox A seemingly self-contradictory statement that is nevertheless true; a seemingly logical statement that proves to contain a contradiction.
parsimonious Being careful with money, often to the point of stinginess.
peevish Easily annoyed by unimportant things.
perfunctory Done in a routine manner, without much attention or interest.
philistine An uncultured person; one uninterested in intellectual matters.
precocious Having developed an ability exceptionally early.
propriety Appropriate behavior.
quagmire A swamp or marsh; an inescapable predicament.
quid pro quo An exchange of favors.
quintessential Representing a perfectly typical example of something.
red herring Something that seems relevant but distracts attention from the real issue.
rendezvous A meeting at a prearranged location and time.
revel To have fun in a boisterous, noisy way.
rhetoric The art of persuasive public speaking.
scintillating Sparkling; shining.
spartan Austere; stern.
status quo The established state of sociopolitical affairs.
stigma A mark of disgrace or dishonor.
stoic One who endures adversity impassively and without complaint.
suave Sophisticated and charming.
Svengali A person who holds a controlling influence over another, often with ill intent.
sycophant A self-serving flatterer.
teetotaler One who does not drink alcohol.
tête-à-tête A private meeting or discussion between two persons.
tirade A rant; a long speech of denunciation.
touché An interjection acknowledging that the listener has in some way scored a point against the speaker.
tryst A secret romantic meeting.
ubiquitous Encountered seemingly everywhere at once.
umbrage Pique, annoyance, or resentment, generally in response to a comment.
unrequited (Of a feeling, often love) not returned or validated.
untenable Impossible to sustain or justify.
vamoose To leave in a hurry.
vicarious Experienced in the mind from observing the actions of others.
vile Repugnant; physically or morally repellent.
vitriol Venomous criticism.
white elephant Something that is impossible to dispose of and whose upkeep is disproportionate to its usefulness.
zealous Ardent; enthusiastically believing in or following something.