Words, words, words. That is all you have to express yourself, your mind, your personality to the world. But if you lack vocabulary, how will you do it?

The selection and use of words is vital. Smart words make you sound smart. The right words will make the right impact instead of going roundabout trying to express it.

Using the right words impresses people as it is also a sign of an educated person. Here are thirty smart words that one must know and use.

Smart Words To Use In A Conversation 

Accolade
The word accolade originally came from the honour of being knighted – it refers to the act of touching the shoulder of the knight by the sword of the king. Commonly the word accolade is used as an award or privilege given to the person for his merits. Like, “Jinny received accolade from her seniors for her hard work.”

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The origin of the word accolade comes from touching the shoulder of the knight with the ruler’s sword

Quintessential
The typical, the stereotypical – in a good way. Quintessential implies the best example of a particular class or item. Like, “The car is the quintessential luxury vehicle with the best of all features.”

Umbrage
Umbrage is a word to express feeling annoyed or hurt by someone or something. It does mean physical hurt, but merely feel offended or insulted. In old English, it originally meant being in the shadow or shade.  Like, “John took umbrage that he was not invited to the meeting.”

Boondoggle
Boondoggle is a big word and basically means a waste of time. If you have spent money or energy on something that resulted in a waste of time, you may call it a boondoggle. Like, “Read your documents carefully before investing, otherwise you might put money in a boondoggle.”

Seldom
A beautiful word seldom is seldom used nowadays. Seldom is anything is not used commonly or frequently. Like, “Jen was a bookworm in her college days but now she seldom reads a book.”

Glib
You have met those glib salespeople more than once. They speak well and confidently, yet so much that they look insincere. Too much clever talking starts to show. Like, “The interviewee was rejected because he was overconfident and glib for the job.”

Exorbitant
Unreasonably,, unfairly high cost. An exorbitant price is unusually high and sounds unreasonable. Like, “The restaurant charged an exorbitant price for the mineral water.”

Catch-22
The phrase Catch-22 became popular after the novel written by Joseph Keller. Based on the war times, it was a satire. Catch-22 refers to a logical condition where there is no escaping. The logic or law is bound by another such logic, each creating a vicious circle. Say, “You need a loan but you cannot get a loan if you do not have money and if you do not have money you need a loan, that is a Catch-22 situation.”

Cloying
Do you know someone whose sweetness makes you feel sick? Overly nice, excessive hugs and kisses making it unpleasant. Or just too sentimental. That is cloying. Like, “The newly-weds cloying love tired everyone.”

Perfunctory
So you have a task to do and you just do it without any interest. You just finish it like a routine without a second glance. That is perfunctory. Say, “The kids finished their class work in a perfunctory way.”

Toilsome
It is said to describe a really hard and tiring work. Toilsome describes a high degree of toil and labour. Say, “It was a toilsome trek through the cold mountains.”

Cajole
Cajole is persuasion in a manipulative way. When someone cajoles another, he uses flattery and sweet talk to seduce and beguile. Cajole is a morally wrong way to make someone do your bid. Say, “The young woman tried to cajole the prince.”

Epitome
A perfect example, an embodiment of the idea. It can be used for a person or a thing depicting the completeness of a quality. Like, “Mata Hari was the epitome of the undercover spy.”

Ubiquitous
What do you say about something that is everywhere? Call it ubiquitous. It could be someone or something that is trending and popularly seen everywhere. Or it could be used to call something that is commonly found. Like, “The sparrow is ubiquitous in the village,” or “The funny memes are ubiquitous on Facebook.”

Eclectic
Eclectic refers to ideas and thoughts which are from widespread sources. It usually means an open minded and universal approach to intellectual thought. Say, “This book portrays an eclectic mix of ancient and modern architecture.”

Proclivity
An inclination to do something regularly. A fondness, a liking for doing something again and again. Like, “Jeff has a proclivity for wearing checked shirts.”

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Euphemism
You want to call a foolish person on the face but instead use a roundabout discreet word or sentence. That is an euphemism. An euphesim is a word or phrase that is used to avoid using a harsh or negative word. An euphemism conveys the same meaning but delivers it mildly. Like, instead of saying “the patient died”, we say, “the patient passed away” or “negative patient outcome”.

Nefarious
Really bad, nasty, wicked in an extreme sense. It could be used to describe a person or attitude with criminal and cruel taste. Say, “The serial killer did not feel regret for his nefarious acts.”

Dalliance
Dalliance is word used to describe a brief affair or encounter. It usually means a casual engagement. It could also mean a brief sexual affair. Like, “After many a dalliance with beautiful women, George now wanted to settle down.”

Sycophant
A sycophant is the flatterer and the doormat who would do anything to impress someone for his own gain. You must have seen a sycophant in the office, he or she will do anything to please the boss. As an example, “The king was surrounded by his sycophant advisors.”

Insidious
The word has gained use after the horror film of the same name. Insidious is a word which means that something harmful is creeping and spreading stealthily and cunningly. Anything insidious is not aggressive or in plain sight but avoids direct encounter and prefers to attack or harm deceptively. Like, “The insidious plan to clear off the forest by cutting trees one by one.”

Fastidious
When you call someone fastidious, it means a person who is very particular about something in the minute details. Fastidious is commonly used to express displeasure at excessive habits of such people because fastidious people can tire others around them. Say, “The old woman was fastidious about her forks and spoons.”

Teetotaler
Teetotaler means someone who does not drink alcoholic beverage. Like, “John is in perfect fitness even at fifty, he exercises daily and is a teetotaler.”

Coerce
To coerce someone is to make someone do what he does not want to do. It is to force someone, physically or mentally. Say, “The goons coerced the witness into not helping the cops.”

Also see: 10 Warning Signs Of Emotional Manipulation At Work & Social Life

Cacophony
Harsh sounds, unpleasant music, quarrels, noise pollution – a series of sounds that you do not like to hear. Say, “John could not sleep well because of the cacophony of the road construction.”

Flummoxed
Have you been so confused that your brain stopped working? Flummoxed means being utterly shocked, baffled and confused. Like, “Arthur was flummoxed that his partner cheated him in business.”

Non-Sequitur
Non-Sequitur is a literary term which has been popularly used comically. It means an unrelated or illogical conclusion from a conversation or statement. The non-sequitur lacks apparent meaning because it is not directly related to the topic and sounds invalid. Non-sequitur is commonly seen in newspaper cartoons. An example of non-sequitur statement is when smokers say that smoking does not cause cancer because non-smokers also suffer from cancer. “Jack’s arguments were full of cheeky and non-sequitur statements. “

Vitriol
In archaic English, the word vitriol meant acid. Today we use it more of a metaphorical way. Vitriol means lots of anger and hatred. It means harsh words and criticism and wish to harm another. Like, “Her feelings were vitriol for her ex-boyfriend.”

Flabbergasted
Very surprised, could be used both in positive and negative way. The world was flabbergasted to hear about Princess Diana’s death. Janet was flabbergasted to hear that she had won the jackpot.

Litany
Litany has two meanings. First it refers to petitions in the church. The second and more common use means a series of repetitive series or recitals. Say, “The husband was tired of hearing the litany of complaints everyday from his nagging wife.”

Caustic
A caustic substance is something that is so harsh that it corrodes away the surface by its chemical reaction. A caustic person or comment corrodes away the morale of a person because it is sarcastic, sharp and bitter. Say, “The teacher’s caustic words depressed his students.”

Narcissist
The word narcissist is commonly used for people who spend too much time on their looks, usually admiring themselves. But narcissism is a could become a serious disorder. Living with a narcissistic person becomes difficult because he or she is looking for constant attention and admiration, without any consideration for the other person or the outer world. They do not take criticism well and can become aggressive at the slightest whiff. Like, “The narcissistic actor foulmouthed the critics.”

Also see: Identify and keep away the toxic people from your life

Oblivion
Being in oblivion means you are unaware of what is happening around you or you cannot make sense of it. One can be in ‘oblivion’ because of darkness, forgetfulness or ignorance or by being under influence of drugs. Say, “The historian discovered the masterpiece and brought it out of oblivion.”

Ostentatious
Ostentatious means something showy and overdone. It is so gaudy that instead of looking good it looks loud and cheap. Say, “Her makeup was ostentatious.”

Tryst
When two people interested in a romantic relationship meet privately or secretly, it is called a tryst. Like, “Jeff and Scarlet had a tryst by the lakeside resort.”

Want to learn more words and become a master at conversation? Half Samosa regularly posts self-growth articles. Check out some more here.

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