I’d like to admit a small fact.
I don’t know everything.
I’m sure it’s not much of a surprise, given the sieve-like quality of my brain and attention span of
only a few seconds at a time. It doesn’t take much to divert me from what I’m
attempting to accomplish.
So, as I am well aware of the fact I don’t know everything, I like to keep a few handy things in my toolkit to make me appear smart. Appearances are everything.
To appear smart, you need to up your vocabulary (or perhaps, augment your vocabulary) so you can swap wee little unimportant ones for fancy schmancy words.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s best to be direct and clear. But that doesn’t make you sound erudite (smart.) Upon occasion we need to put on our best literary show.
If you don’t fancy reading your dictionary cover to cover (I’ll admit I want to) here’s a handy list of words from A to Z you might want to add to your vocabulary in order to wow your friends, family, and colleagues.
acquiesce – This verb means “to agree.” Why not use agree? Well, you’re trying to sound smart. Does agree sound smart? No. Acquiesce it is, then.
bourgeois - middle class. Often used in a negative sense. Suburbs, minivans, and 2.5 kids is the bourgeois dream. It could all be yours.
commensurate – Ever read a job ad that says “Salary commensurate with experience”? It means in proportion to, or at a level appropriate to something. Salary commensurate with experience. You get paid what you deserve. Now you don’t have to ask during your job interview. See remuneration.
du jour - French for “of the day.” Pretend you’re bilingual. Used it as soup du jour, joke du jour, call du joir. Du joir it all.
edifice – a building, especially a fancy one. That’s quite the edifice you have there, Bob.
fortnight – Happen to travel back in time? Don’t go without adding fortnight to your vocabulary. It means two weeks. Use it often. It doesn’t matter whether something is in two weeks or not. You might just impress Jane Austen.
gluteus maximus – bum. I fell on my gluteus maximus. Save face a little by using (employing, if you will) this word.
hominid – Hear this in regards to anthropologists finding ape-like creatures? Well we are hominids. It’s the class of family we belong to, though it’s often used to talk about ancient humans. A Neanderthal? Hominid. Colin Firth. Hominid.
insipid – boring. Maybe you even find this word boring. You’re not using enough spit when you pronunciate it.
julienne – Clearly I would like this one. It means to cut vegetables into short, thin strips.
knave - scoundrel, rogue. These are key words of the historical romance. Do something wrong and suggest, “I’m just a knave. I apologize for [insert sin here.]“ You’ll be forgiven posthaste.
loquacious - garrulous, talkative. Want someone to be quiet? Blow them away by using this word in the sentence. They might not even take it as a compliant.
misanthrope – person who hates humans. There are other names for them. This one isn’t quite so offensive, because there’s a chance they might not understand it.
namby-pamby – sounds like an insult. It kind of is. It means lacking vigour. You are so namby-pamby.
octogenarian – someone in their eighties. An octogenerian may use Depends.
peripatetic - moving around a lot. I come from a very peripatetic family. Actually I don’t. But you might.
quorum – used in regards to board meetings. A quorum is just enough people to make the meeting official. Not enough people? You don’t have a quorum. But you do have more cookies.
remuneration – pay. Easy enough. We all like remuneration.
soliloquy – a speech characters in a play deliver when they’re all alone. But if you talk to yourself, and get caught in the process, just explain it’s a soliloquy. I mean, it goes back to Shakespeare.
totem – not just a pole, but a symbol. The beaver is a totem of Canada. Yes, that noble rodent is a totem. Dam.
utilitarian – plain and practical. Like a pair of rubber boots or an old car that gets you from Point A to Point B.
vacuous - empty or unintelligent. That’s why you’re upping your vocabulary!
whelp - give birth. A bit of a negative term when used in regards to humans; it’s usually only an animal that whelps. Or Octomom.
xenophobe – someone who hates foreigners. Refer to the phrase “come from aways” for an example of anti-foreign sentiments.
yonder - over there. There weren’t may words from the Y category that fit the bill. I should’ve skipped it.
zygote – a fertilized egg. You were once one! Did that ever change! Again, the Z category is very limited. I apologize for not ending on a high note.
There you have it. An A to Z guide of words that can be used in a situation when you need to sound important. If this has only whetted your appetite, be sure to find a dictionary and bolster your word power. It makes a great bathroom reader.