Do you reach for your thesaurus as a surefire way to sound smarter (or irrefragably phrenic?) Watch out. Misuses of words (and other malaprops) can make you sound like you’re trying too hard and you’ll seem simply abstruse. Don’t miss these 50 words you think are synonyms but aren’t.
Here are some examples of thesaurus-gone-wrong situations.
- Storm’s on the way. The clouds look so precarious. Not exactly.
- This romance novel is very piperaceous. Did you mean spicy or from the pepper family of plants?
- Would you like to join me during your refection break to sup on libation and oblation? If you’re asking me to join you on your lunch break for wine and bread (or the Eucharist!) the answer is “no, thanks.”
- I’m so angry my fumarole is bursting! Your volcanic smoke vent? Go ahead and blow your stack already.
- Please refrain from ululating. Just say “stop crying.”
- He shot his rival a rebarbative glance. Basically, a dirty look.
- The party was so lit, but now I’m totally crapulous (with a hangover.)
- The best co-parents form a bicephalous regime. Kinda like a good cop, bad cop type thing.
- I asked my boss for hebdomadal paychecks and she was like, what? That’s just every seven days or, you know, weekly.
- To avoid wasting paper, I just use my palimpsest. That’s basically the ancient word for scratch pad.
- You’re so late—I’ve been waiting for a million parsecs. That makes zero sense unless you’re calculating interstellar parallaxes, time, and coming up with an astronomical length of about 19 trillion miles—or something.
- I’m going to titivate the fireplace to make it a focal point. You know, just spruce it up a bit.
- You have a capacity for emacity! That means you’re a shopaholic.
Haha! Next, check out these 20 words and phrases that smart people never ever use.