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10 Fancy Words That Make You Sound Smarter

We all want to sound smarter. With these fancy words, you can take your vocabulary to a whole new level and impress everyone.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for rant or argument

Try: Diatribe, meaning a nasty (and usually lengthy) tirade, whether spoken or written. Are you prone to diatribes when you’re upset? Because they are the perfect excuse to use fancy words that the person you’re ranting at may not understand. You can also try these old-fashioned words the make you sound smart too.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for mean

Try: Vitriolic. The word vitriol originally meant “sulfates.” It evolved over time, keeping the “corrosive” and “destructive” connotations from its association with sulfuric acid. Now, it’s used to describe a nasty, scathing comment or action. Brushing up on these 41 little grammar rules will also make you sound smarter.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for afraid or timid

Try: Pusillanimous. The Wizard of Oz himself uses this one, telling the Scarecrow that “every pusillanimous creature that crawls on Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain!” Plus, it’s a lot of fun to say. These are the words and phrases that smart people never use.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for brag

Try: Bloviate, to speak or write in a showy, grandiose way. You might be guilty of bloviating if you loudly boast about your achievements. You might also be guilty of bloviating if you fill your speech with fancy words to make yourself sound smarter—oh wait. Find out the longest word in English.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for fancy

Try: Rococo. Coco Chanel would probably approve of this fancy—no, rococo—word meaning ornate or elegant. Smart people don’t necessarily have rococo habits, but they do do have these 12 quirky habits that prove you are smarter than everyone else.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for confidence

Try: Aplomb, meaning total composure and self-assurance. If aplomb is something you lack, sprinkling more fancy words into your conversations could give you a boost on confidence.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for stubborn

Try: Pervicacious, meaning resilient and unyielding. This term comes from the Latin word for “to prevail.” Here are some easy ways to look smarter.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for confuse

Try: Obfuscate, meaning to make obscure or unclear. If these things apply to you, you’re clearly smarter than you probably think.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for picky

Try: Fastidious, meaning excessively particular or demanding; very concerned about accuracy and detail. Because “I’m a fastidious eater” sounds a lot less needy than “I’m a picky eater.” Don’t miss these clever jokes that make you sound smart too.

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Nicole Fornabaio/

Fancy word for suck-up

Try: Sycophant, or a self-seeking flatterer. It’s much easier to call someone out as a suck-up when you’re not actually using the word “suck-up.” Just make sure you always avoid these words and phrases that actually make you sound dumber.