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23 Words You Can Use To Impress Your Friends

Published by D. Minor in Random
March 25th, 2008

These words are sure to make somebody’s head spin.

Words. They make the world work. Imagine what life would be like without words. Pretty tough, huh? Especially because you’re describing that vision with words. Anyway, if the world runs on words, you owe it to yourself to get to know some new words. If you have a powerful vocabulary, you might just be able to convince your boss to give you a raise. (That is not a guarantee. Don’t hold me accountable if you get fired) The words in this article are sure to make you feel smarter. (That’s not a guarantee, either, but I’d be impressed if you already knew all these words.)

The Words

Algid (adj.) - Chilly or cold; having a low temperature

Sentence: The climate in Greenland is algid, at the least, and unbearable at the worst.

Apotheosis (n.) - Elevation to a divine state; a perfect example

Sentence: The host at the restaurant was the apotheosis of a haughty and scornful elitist.

Circean (adj.) - Refering to beauty of a dangerous kind (Comes from the myth of the beautiful sorceress Circe, who would lure weary sailors to her island, only to turn them into pigs and eat them)

Sentence: Some people have attached a circean characteristic to a life of crime.

Circumscript (adj.) – Limited or enclosed; confined

Sentence: I can’t work in such a circumscript environment!

Conundrum (n.) - A perplexing riddle or puzzle

Sentence: He’s been working on that problem for hours. It must be a true conundrum to confuse such a genius!

Edacious (adj.) - Voracious; starving

Sentence: She looks as if she hasn’t eaten for days. She must be edacious.

Expiate (v.) - To atone for or to make amends

Sentence: I have come here not to argue, but to expiate and apologize for my actions.

Hobson’s choice (n.) - An apparent free choice when there is no real alternative.

Sentence: Don’t be fooled by his sweet talk. This is a Hobson’s choice; you have no choice but to sell the farm.

Lascivious (adj.) - Producing sexual desire or behavior; arousing

Sentence: She’s trying to hard to be lascivious; she’d have more friends if she were herself.

Illeism (n.) - Reference to oneself through the use of the third person.

Sentence: Use of illeism often makes one appear full of himself.

Luddite (n.) - One who is opposed to technological change (Comes from a group of 19th century English workmen who destroyed labor-saving machinery as a protest.)

Sentence: Don’t be such a Luddite. Computers are a very useful new technology.

Maven (n.) - Someone with special knowledge; an expert

Sentence: We’ve sent the specimen to the premier maven in archaelogy. We will soon found out the truth about your “fossil.”

Obfuscate (v.) - To make obscure or unclear; to darken

Sentence: Don’t listen to him. The only brand of truth he knows is obfuscation and lies.

Occam’s razor (n.) - A philosophical and scientific rule that states that entities should not multiply unnecessarily. (Interpreted to mean that the simplest theories are to be prefered more than complex ones.)

Sentence: Cut some of this out. Remember: Occam’s razor and less is more.

Puerile (adj.) - Juvenile or silly; annoying

Sentence: Please, grow up and stop being so puerile.

Skepsis (n.) – Philosophic doubt as to the objective reality of phenomena; (broadly) a skeptical outlook or attitude

Sentence: This would be much easier if you weren’t pressing your skepsis onto everyone.

Sybarite (n.) - One who is self-indulgent; a wanton

Sentence: He’s quite the sybarite, and one of these days, it’s going to catch up to him.

Tacit (adj.) - Silent; having nothing to say

Sentence: He hasn’t said anything but hello. Is he tacit or just shy?

Telos (n.) - An ultimate end

Sentence: The story reached its Telos with the main character dying.

Tyro (n.) - A novice or beginning learner

Sentence: Don’t give him such a hard time; he’s still only a tyro.

Ubiquitous (adj.) - Omnipresent (In Theology, refers to Christ or God)

Sentence: The issue of racial prejudice seems to be ubiquitous; we can never escape it.

Whinge (v.) - To whine or complain profusely

Sentence: If you want something done, stop whinging about it and get working.

Zeitgeist (n.) - The spirit of the age; the taste, outlook, and spirit characteristics of the time

Sentence: The zeitgeist of today is ever-changing. What’s cool today is old tomorrow.

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43 Comments
  1. bryan
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you for NOT putting “uber” in your list.

  2. bryan
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you for NOT putting “uber” in your list.

  3. bryan
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for NOT putting “uber” in your list.

  4. sheber
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Not to “whinge” or be “puerile”, and since I’m no “maven”, It would have been great for you to have included the pronunciation.

  5. Peter
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Some of these are crap. Conundrum? My 7 year old sister knows the word. Same with whinge. Zeitgeist? A word I come across again and again.
    And at the opening, why not use lexicon in the stead of vocabulary?
    Thumbs down on StumbleUpon

  6. Peter
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    And puerile? Come on, surely you can do better after 5 minutes with a half decent thesaurus.
    Bah, Humbug!

  7. cpetersen
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Mwell.. It’s not THAT bad. Some are good; I knew quite a few of them though. But as it was put in the writing category in SU, the stumblers are bound to know most of them. I suppose it’s good for people who would actually lower themselves to using words to impress their friends.

  8. Billdave
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Words that absolutely no one knows make you look like a pedant and a fool. these words are fairly rare, but not so obscure you look like you are trying too hard. language is a tool for communication, not showing off. Good list.

  9. Billdave
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    P.S. Whinge is very common for Brits, almost unheard in the US. So unless you want to sound like a poncy wanker, skip it.

  10. daleyden
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Did you mean is he taciturn? We have a tacit agreement not to be hypercritical here.

  11. julz
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Half these words are terribly pretentious, and the other half aren’t that unusual. Besides, there’s some egregious errors:

    Sentence: I can’t work in such a circumscript environment!
    shouldn’t it be:
    Sentence: I can’t work in such a circumscribed environment!

    Doesn’t Maven imply the expert is female?

    Doesn’t Tacit mean implicit?
    Sentence: He hasn’t said anything but hello. Is he *taciturn* or just shy?

    And this example doesn’t make sense: the second sentence doesn’t relate to the first.
    Sentence: The zeitgeist of today is ever-changing. What’s cool today is old tomorrow.

    This is my understanding without the use of a dictionary – I’d probably find more with one!

    uh, thanks for the page!

  12. photolex
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I love words. Some of these I knew. Others I didn’t. One thing that jumped out at me though, “She’s trying to hard to be lascivious…” should be “She’s trying too hard to be lascivious…”

  13. BillinDetroit
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Sorry Jules, but when you are a hypercrit*, you’ve got to submit to the same.

    “Besides, there’s some egregious errors:”

    What are wrong with this? (singular / plural disagreement bites yet another unwary soul)

    (I coins ‘em as I sees ‘em)

  14. Dimitris
    Posted March 25, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Pleas nobody take this the wrong way but you realise that most of these words are greek right?
    For you they may sound fancy but for me they are every day words…
    Like “Telos” its the End
    or “Skepsis” its nothing more than our word for “thought” or generaly the act of thinking. Nothing philosophic* about it.

  15. isa
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 1:37 am

    1. These words are not terribly uncommon; I know most of them and I’m just a young ‘un.

    2. No one will be impressed if you use these words. You will just look like a pretentious douchepocket.

  16. CinCCO
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 3:37 am

    D Minor, you’ve done nothing but rewrite words from a thesaurus. I detect an imaturity here. Sorry but if you put yourself up, you’re liked to be shot down.

  17. Darlyne
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I thought this was very creative. Not too many would think to write about words like this.(from the looks of it, a lot of people found it interesting enough to read.) Good job!
    I am new to this sight and I am surprised that so many talented writers can or would be so critical to fellow writers.(and I certainly do not agree with the negative comments you received). To those of you who choose to write negative comments to others I say, “If you have nothing good to say, please say nothing at all!”
    Keep up the good work and enjoy your writing!

  18. billybouffant
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 9:44 am

    nice one, I shall be using some of these later.
    hehe and they all called me stupid

  19. nobloodyname
    Posted March 27, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Re comment #9, you’re a floon of the highest magnitude. Nothing wrong with ‘whinge’, us Brits would be lost without it.

  20. boggle
    Posted March 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    As others have commented, the way some of these words are used in sentences demonstrates only a surface knowledge of what they mean. In my opinion, Occam’s Razor should be applied to language above all. Nothing makes me cringe more than someone using a word poorly just to show off a bit of rote memory. It leads to obfuscation for which there is no expiation!! Fer gawdsake, ifn ya gotta lurn ta tawk purty then lissen to ppl who tawk purty!!

  21. Betty
    Posted March 29, 2008 at 9:28 am

    The best word that anyone ever told me about was “extemporaneously”. It means, off the cuff. So you would use it in this way…I didn’t have time to prepare a speach so I will deliver it extemporaneously.

  22. homer
    Posted March 29, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Im very impressed.

  23. Stephen Paulger
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 10:36 am

    “Conundrum” won’t impress anyone in the UK, they will just assume you watch daytime TV. There is (or maybe was) a show called countdown which finished with the “countdown conundrum”.

  24. Elyse
    Posted April 20, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Awesome list. Re comment #11, though, Zeitgeist’s definition could probably use a semicolon in the middle, as in “The spirit of today is ever-changing; what’s cool today is old tomorrow,” and julz, it’s appropriate because the second part is more or less a definition of the first. Still, many of the words I did not know or was unaware of their proper use. Thanks, D Minor.

  25. maria therese ann
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 8:38 am

    ty……….i have learned a lot.aside of learning some words from here it also help me improve my communication skills…thanks very much……….

  26. QuietWriter the Non-
    Posted September 4, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Each morning,before I begin to write I often practice a bit and spend valuable time reading many comments like these,it is an inspirational past time. I gather it is truly the writer who insist he/she an expert enough with an intent to “obsfusate” us in our efforts to overlook the harsh reality of criticism of the thing we are naturally driven to do,to deter us from recognizing our own unique gifts…now I finally know for certain that I have always been a “skepsis” of the experts when it comes to my style of writing. Before I considered myself a writer I would have probably been viewed as an “edacious” artist. The “conundrum” of my purposes in this world are simply this…”When I write that book, I want the reader to be so engaged with the reading of my book without the necessity of constantly putting it aside to seek references of it’s meaning with the “maven’s” companion and possibly only friend, his/her dictionary. I really want to be a writer someday…but spend too much time in the trenches of treacherous blogging defense with my reasons. Many [expert] writers’ criticisms and reviews of other writer-wanna-bes are predictable and as a whole,they are incredible sometimes vicious creatures. They are afforded with the opportunity to take our heart’s longings and rip them to streds and throw them down at our feet without batting an eye. Remember those English Lit. Teachers? We, “new” “undisciplined” “untamed spirits” are fortunate to posess something they too often ignore…”fresh ideas”. Good Luck to all, and Write On!

  27. QuietWriter the Non-Tacit
    Posted September 4, 2008 at 8:16 am

    My post…was interrupted…and lacking my title! Woe, the technology!

  28. sara
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Don’t listen to the bad comments this ROCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Me
    Posted November 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Cool words, but I was looking for words to put in a poem and these don’t sound great

  30. Harv
    Posted November 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    …and another thing: it’s not *a* Hobson’s Choice. It’s just “Hobson’s Choice”, as in; “Henry Ford offered his customers Hobson’s Choice – they could have any colour as long as it was black.”

  31. Jack
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I think Peter needed to let us know how smart he is, not to mention his little boy. We do think you’re uh smart, Peter, a lot smarter than we are. We respect you, too. Thanks for letting us know about the shortcomings of the list. You probably know all those words. Wow, what a guy!

  32. fidgety_sam
    Posted November 29, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for not including “plethora”.

  33. Liam
    Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Seriously. Conundrum, Zeitgeist,Hobson\\\’s choice, etc. Come on! Try
    \\\”sesquepedalian”. I think i spelled it right. Oh, and puerile. Seriously. (Well, I take Latin, so… *cough*I rock at it, too*cough*)

  34. lovingwords
    Posted November 30, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    i know most of the words but i thank you for taking time to post them. it’s useful to many though it may not be to some.

    keep it up!

  35. nnniiicccoooyyyaaa
    Posted December 16, 2008 at 2:07 am

    let’s play balderdash sometime, buck smart.

  36. Renesmee
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Sentence: She’s trying *to hard to be lascivious; she’d have more friends if she were herself.

    *too. That’s all I have to say.

  37. asdf
    Posted May 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    You need to work on grammar too…
    Lascivious: the sentence needs 2 O’s in too, duh!
    Thank you Renesmee

  38. shahrukh
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    thnx chick

  39. tom cruise
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    hey m geting bored….

  40. tom cruise
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    is any1 dere to chat…..any girl??????????//

  41. Posted January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Eschew obfuscation.

  42. Posted January 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

    How about ‘Ichthyophagistwhich’ which means: One who eats, or subsists on, fish!

  43. Posted March 27, 2011 at 6:43 am

    a little bit ameuturish try a little bit harder do more complex words like antidisestablishmentarianism or floccinicinihilipilification or sesquipadalian or hippopotamonstrosesquipadaliaphobia or brachychophagus or brachydactylus or troglodyte.Thats all i have to say.

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