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The Top 10 Words That Make You Sound Smart OR Pretentious

Do you know someone who likes to use big, fancy words to seem smart…but it comes across like they’re just trying too hard?

The language tutoring app Preply recently conducted a study on the words that people use to make themselves sound SMARTER and the ones that they may THINK make them sound smart, but they actually sound PRETENTIOUS.

Here are the top 10 words that make people sound smart:

  1. articulate
  2. accolade
  3. brevity
  4. anomaly
  5. adulation
  6. abysmal
  7. candor
  8. adept
  9. exacerbate
  10. vernacular

After that, at #11, is “caveat,” followed by vacillate . . . juxtapose . . . aesthetic . . . ambiguous . . . quintessential . . . adequate . . . fastidious . . . repertoire . . . and misnomer.

(Anyone else think it’s odd that NINE of the 20 start with the letter A or is it just a coincidence?)

The problem with using fancy words like these is: they can also make you sound PRETENTIOUS.

And there’s a decent amount of overlap.

Here are the top 10 words that make people sound pretentious:

  1. faux pas
  2. audacious
  3. caveat
  4. bonafide
  5. chic
  6. brevity
  7. touché
  8. adulation
  9. articulate (which was #1 on the smart list)
  10. candor

Following that were aesthetic . . . ambiguous . . . cavalier . . . capitalize . . . abysmal . . . concur . . . juxtapose . . . wunderkind . . . accolade . . . and conundrum.

Here are five other interesting findings from the study:

  1. 56% of people say they usually assume someone with a complex vocabulary is smart. 78% say big, complex words can make someone seem smarter.
  2. You have to use the words CORRECTLY. 58% of people admit to using a word they didn’t know the meaning of to sound smarter.
  3. 68% of people say they have intentionally used complex words to impress someone. 63% have done it to impress a date, while 70% have done it at work.
  4. Only 35% of people say big words in everyday conversation impresses them. 58% say it annoys or bothers them.
  5. 43% of people say they’ve heard someone use words like this and thought the person was trying to sound smarter than they are. 28% think someone with a complex vocabulary is insecure.

 

(Preply)



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