• 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

Foto: Self-absorbed.sourceGetty

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

Lees ook op Business Insider

Sounds smarter than: self-absorbed, narcissistic


Obfuscate

Foto: To confuse.sourceJesus Moron/Reuters

Definition: to make obscure or unclear

Sounds smarter than: confuse, complicate


Perfunctory

Foto: Lazy.sourceBaLL LunLa / Shutterstock

Definition: lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm

Sounds smarter than: lazy, careless


Equanimity

Foto: Chill.sourceShutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: chill, calm


Fastidious

Foto: Demanding.sourceSteve Liss / Contributor for Getty Images

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

Sounds smarter than: picky, demanding


Parsimonious

Foto: Cheap.sourceOllyy / Shutterstock

Definition: unwilling to spend money or use resources

Sounds smarter than: cheap, stingy


Aplomb

Foto: Confidence.sourceShutterstock

Definition: imperturbable self-possession, poise, or assurance

Sounds smarter than: confidence, tact


Axiomatic

Foto: Obvious.sourceREUTERS/Mark Blinch

Definition: self-evident, requiring no proof

Sounds smarter than: obvious


Ennui

Foto: Boredom.sourceShutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: boredom


Lurid

Foto: Shocking.sourceE!

Definition: glaringly vivid or sensational

Sounds smarter than: shocking


Malaise

Foto: Uneasy.sourcechayaya1988/Shutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: depression, despair


Diatribe

Foto: Attack.sourcewavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Definition: a bitter, sharply abusive denunciation or criticism

Sounds smarter than: attack


Pusillanimous

Foto: Timid.sourceShutterstock

Definition: lacking courage or resolution

Sounds smarter than: cowardly, timid


Bloviate

Foto: Lecture.sourceShutterstock

Definition: to speak pompously

Sounds smarter than: brag, lecture


Rococo

Foto: Flamboyant.sourceJo Hale/Getty Images

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

Sounds smarter than: flamboyant


Pervicacious

Foto: Stubborn.sourceTetra Images/Getty Images

Definition: extremely willful; obstinate

Sounds smarter than: stubborn


Cloying

Foto: Sappy.sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

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

Sounds smarter than: sappy, cheesy


Sycophant

Foto: Brownnoser.sourceAnthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Definition: a self-seeking, servile flatterer

Sounds smarter than: suck-up, brownnoser


Malinger

Foto: Taking a “sick day.”sourceShutterstock

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

Sounds smarter than: taking a “sick day”


Maudlin

Foto: Weepy.sourceShutterstock

Definition: tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental

Sounds smarter than: weepy


Neophyte

Foto: Marquis Jackson was all smiles in the post-game handshake line.sourceRob Carr/Getty Images

Definition: beginner or novice

Sounds smarter than: newbie, amature