Some of us really are smart, but many of us have to fake it.
Faking it just got easier thanks to a book from the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries called "100 Words to Make You Sound Smart."
Just think! Learn one word a day--while you're cooking dinner, riding the train to work or taking care of business in the bathroom--and in just over three months, you'll sound educated, articulate and literate. Can sophisticated be far away?
So what kind of words are on this list? They are real words. Words that you can actually use in conversation and writing that do sound smart, but not ostentatious.
A colorful variety of words have been chosen, including handy words of just one syllable (such as "glib") and words derived from the names of famous people (such as "Freudian slip" and "Machiavellian"). There are expressions from popular culture ("Catch-22") and words that date back to classical civilization ("Spartan" and "stoic").
Here are 20 of the 100 words that will make you sound smart:
(noun): rancor, spite, bitterness, hostility, ill will
(noun): division into two contradictory or exclusive entities; something with two contradictory qualities
(verb): prevaricate, beat around the bush, vacillate
(adjective): obscure, mysterious, cryptic, arcane
(noun): inoffensive or agreeable substitute for an expression that may be distasteful or offensive
(adjective): fussy, finicky, particular
(verb): obtain by indirect or convoluted means or through trickery
(adjective): persuasive, smooth, slick
(noun): herald, portent, omen, forerunner
(adjective): individual, personal, distinctive, eccentric, peculiar
(adjective): sinister, menacing
(adjective): shocking, explicit, vivid, sensational
(adjective): overly sentimental, mawkish, soppy
14. Non Sequitur
(noun): a response unrelated to or not following logically from a previous statement
(adjective): showy, flamboyant, pretentious, grandiose
(verb): exclude, shun, snub
(noun): cure-all, magic potion, universal remedy
(noun): flatterer, toady
(adjective): everywhere, ever-present, omnipresent
(adjective): enthusiastic, passionate, fervent, ardent, obsessive, fanatical, extreme
--From the Editors at Netscape