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How to sound smarter at work (without annoying everyone)

Raise the bar on your vocabulary game like you’re studying for the SATs. These 10 words will dazzle, delight, and impress your coworkers and boss.

Gen-Z

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Hello, Smarty Pants McSmarterson

It’s time to step up your vocabulary game and simultaneously impress your coworkers whilst doing so. The following ten words will help raise your esteem in your associate’s eyes and cause them to wonder if you’ve been attending night school of late. Start sprinkling a few of these beauties into your roundtable meetings, but not too many at once. You never want to be the guy who causes his coworkers to roll his eyes. But you do want to be the guy who sends them to their dictionaries as soon as your meeting is over.

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1. Aplomb – noun: self-confidence or assurance, especially when in a demanding situation. Synonyms: poise, composure

How to use it: She planned the event with confidence and pulled it off with great aplomb.

2. Beleaguer – verb: to cause constant or repeated trouble for a person, business, etc. Synonyms: harass, pester, badger, vex

How to use it: Budget problems have beleaguered this project throughout all Q2.

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3. Bloviate – verb: talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way. Synonyms: spiel

How to use it: Did you watch last night’s debate? Several of the politicians continued to bloviate in order to dodge the issues.

4. Caustic – adjective: sarcastic in a scathing and bitter way. Synonyms: derisive, acerbic, abrasive

How to use it: You can often come across as sarcastic and caustic, which is neither appreciated nor professional.

5. Didactic adjective: in the manner of a teacher, particularly so as to treat someone in a patronizing way. Synonyms: patronizing, pedantic

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How to use it: Three’s no need for you to speak to us in such a didactic manner, we are all equals here.

6. Exacerbateverb: make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse. Synonyms: inflame, aggravate

How to use it: If you complain behind your boss’s back, it will only exacerbate the issue since he is bound to find out.

7. Idiosyncrasy – noun: a distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of an individual, place, or thing. Synonyms: peculiarity, oddity, eccentricity

How to use it: Writers are a breed of their own; they have quite a few idiosyncrasies.

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8. Innocuous adjective: not harmful or offensive. Synonyms: harmless, innocent

How to use it: Her perfume is very strong, but it’s an innocuous scent.

9. Paradoxical -adjective: having the nature of a paradox; self-contradictory. Synonyms: contradictory, incongruous, anomalous

How to use it: The ideas appear paradoxical, however they work together seamlessly.

10. Parsimonious adjective: unwilling to spend money or use resources. Synonyms: stingy, frugal, cheap

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How to use it: We can’t be parsimonious if we want to see the most lucrative results.

Even smarter:

Remember to parse these words out frugally so you appear educated, but not as if you are trying too hard. And never, ever bloviate.

#Impressive

Staff Writer, Abigail White is a wordsmith who hails from the Deep South, having graduated with a degree in Journalism from Auburn University. She is usually reading three books at once, loves history, sarcasm, and arguing over the Oxford comma.

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