21 synonyms that will make you sound smarter

Expand your vocabulary.

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Expand your vocabulary.
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Jessica Ruscello/Unsplash

  • Instead of saying that someone is “picky” or “demanding,” call them “fastidious.”
  • If someone is always confident, they possess lots of aplomb.
  • “Axiomatic” is a fancy way of saying “obvious.”

The words we use can have a huge impact on our lives. Our word choices can undermine our success or indicate higher levels of stress, but they can also help us reach our goals and impress people like potential employers.

It may have been a while since you’ve practiced SAT words, but expanding your vocabulary opens up new possibilities for expressing yourself at any stage of life.

Don’t be pusillanimous – use one of these 21 words next time you want to sound smart. The definitions and synonyms come from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, respectively.


Solipsistic

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Self-absorbed.
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Alina Miroshnichenko/Unsplash

Definition: extremely preoccupied with and indulgent of one’s feelings, desires, etc.

Sounds smarter than: self-absorbed, narcissistic


Obfuscate

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To confuse.
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Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Definition: to make obscure or unclear

Sounds smarter than: confuse, complicate


Perfunctory

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Lazy.
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Unsplash/Kinga Cichewicz

Definition: lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm

Sounds smarter than: lazy, careless


Equanimity

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Chill.
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Matthew Kane/Unsplash

Definition: mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain

Sounds smarter than: chill, calm


Fastidious

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Demanding.
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The Internet Movie Database

Definition: excessively particular, critical, or demanding; hard to please

Sounds smarter than: picky, demanding


Parsimonious

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Cheap.
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Ollyy / Shutterstock

Definition: unwilling to spend money or use resources

Sounds smarter than: cheap, stingy


Aplomb

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Confidence.
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Unsplash/Bryan Apen

Definition: imperturbable self-possession, poise, or assurance

Sounds smarter than: confidence, tact


Axiomatic

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Obvious.
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Maria Freyenbacher/Unsplash

Definition: self-evident, requiring no proof

Sounds smarter than: obvious


Ennui

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Boredom.
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Shutterstock

Definition: a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest

Sounds smarter than: boredom


Lurid

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Shocking.
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UNclimatechange/flickr

Definition: glaringly vivid or sensational

Sounds smarter than: shocking


Malaise

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Melancholy.
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Xavier Sotomayor/Unsplash

Definition: a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort

Sounds smarter than: depression, despair


Diatribe

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Attack.
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wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Definition: a bitter, sharply abusive denunciation or criticism

Sounds smarter than: attack


Pusillanimous

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Timid.
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Caleb Woods/Unsplash

Definition: lacking courage or resolution

Sounds smarter than: cowardly, timid


Bloviate

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Lecture.
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John Mark Kuznietsov/Unsplash

Definition: to speak pompously

Sounds smarter than: brag, lecture


Rococo

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Flamboyant.
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Kane Reinholdtsen/Unsplash

Definition: ornate or florid in speech, literary style, etc.

Sounds smarter than: flamboyant


Pervicacious

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Stubborn.
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TrinDiego/flickr

Definition: extremely willful; obstinate

Sounds smarter than: stubborn


Cloying

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Sappy.
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Flickr/Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

Definition: causing or tending to cause disgust or aversion through excess

Sounds smarter than: sappy, cheesy


Sycophant

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Brownnoser.
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Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Definition: a self-seeking, servile flatterer

Sounds smarter than: suck-up, brownnoser


Malinger

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Taking a “sick day.”
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monkeybusinessimages / iStock

Definition: to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one’s duty, avoid work, etc.

Sounds smarter than: taking a “sick day”


Maudlin

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Weepy.
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Shutterstock

Definition: tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental

Sounds smarter than: weepy


Neophyte

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Newbie.
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Simon_sees/flickr

Definition: beginner or novice

Sounds smarter than: newbie, amature

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