Some people think that using big, fancy words makes them sound smarter, but it can actually have the opposite effect. Trying to sound more intelligent by using long, academic-sounding words can make you seem less intelligent, according to one study. And trying to use more complicated language can backfire on you or have you come across sounding like a phony, but which words sound the most pretentious? “Methinks” and “whilst” come to mind, and so do these other show-off words.
- Utilize- Just say “use” and get on with it.
- Detritus- It’s garbage and debris, so just call it that.
- Plethora- This word is too much and it means too much and while we’re on the subject of excessive ways to say “a bunch,” we can skip myriad, too.
- Curate- What a fancy way to say selecting and organizing things.
- Authored- Calling something you wrote “authored” doesn’t make your writing more impressive and same goes for “penned.”
- Panacea- It means the remedy for all diseases and difficulties, but it sounds more like the disease than the cure-all.
- Existential- Save this one for philosophy class, smartie.
- Meta -A lot of people don’t understand what this means and if you’re one of them, you shouldn’t use it either.
- Penultimate- Many people use this one wrong and we don’t want you to be one of them. It means next to last, not the very last, latest, or very best thing.
- Splendiferous- It sounds like a made up word, but even though it’s real, you don’t need to use it.
- Loquacious- It’s just talkative, but using it or “verbose” doesn’t make you smarter.
- Cadre[[cad-ray]] - Just say group and get on with it.
- Signage- What’s wrong with just using “signs?”
- Stick-to-itiveness- There’s a much better word for this kind of perseverance: “tenacity.”