21 synonyms that will make you sound smarter

Expand your vocabulary.

caption
Expand your vocabulary.
source
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.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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

caption
Self-absorbed.
source
Getty

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

Sounds smarter than: self-absorbed, narcissistic


Obfuscate

caption
To confuse.
source
Jesus Moron/Reuters

Definition: to make obscure or unclear

Sounds smarter than: confuse, complicate


Perfunctory

caption
Lazy.
source
BaLL LunLa / Shutterstock

Definition: lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm

Sounds smarter than: lazy, careless


Equanimity

caption
Chill.
source
Shutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: chill, calm


Fastidious

caption
Demanding.
source
Steve Liss / Contributor for Getty Images

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

Sounds smarter than: picky, demanding


Parsimonious

caption
Cheap.
source
Ollyy / Shutterstock

Definition: unwilling to spend money or use resources

Sounds smarter than: cheap, stingy


Aplomb

caption
Confidence.
source
Shutterstock

Definition: imperturbable self-possession, poise, or assurance

Sounds smarter than: confidence, tact


Axiomatic

caption
Obvious.
source
REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Definition: self-evident, requiring no proof

Sounds smarter than: obvious


Ennui

caption
Boredom.
source
Shutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: boredom


Lurid

caption
Shocking.
source
E!

Definition: glaringly vivid or sensational

Sounds smarter than: shocking


Malaise

caption
Uneasy.
source
chayaya1988/Shutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: depression, despair


Diatribe

caption
Attack.
source
wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Definition: a bitter, sharply abusive denunciation or criticism

Sounds smarter than: attack


Pusillanimous

caption
Timid.
source
Shutterstock

Definition: lacking courage or resolution

Sounds smarter than: cowardly, timid


Bloviate

caption
Lecture.
source
Shutterstock

Definition: to speak pompously

Sounds smarter than: brag, lecture


Rococo

caption
Flamboyant.
source
Jo Hale/Getty Images

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

Sounds smarter than: flamboyant


Pervicacious

caption
Stubborn.
source
Tetra Images/Getty Images

Definition: extremely willful; obstinate

Sounds smarter than: stubborn


Cloying

caption
Sappy.
source
Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider

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

Sounds smarter than: sappy, cheesy


Sycophant

caption
Brownnoser.
source
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Definition: a self-seeking, servile flatterer

Sounds smarter than: suck-up, brownnoser


Malinger

caption
Taking a “sick day.”
source
Shutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: taking a “sick day”


Maudlin

caption
Weepy.
source
Shutterstock

Definition: tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental

Sounds smarter than: weepy


Neophyte

caption
Marquis Jackson was all smiles in the post-game handshake line.
source
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Definition: beginner or novice

Sounds smarter than: newbie, amature