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Woman reading paper
Speak up

You've got
the moves
like Einstein

Whether you have a job interview or you just want to impress your boss, these 100 words will show people you're a savvy, capable woman.

11. Cacophony/cacophonous

Definition: harsh, dissonant sounds

Example: The sudden sound of a cell phone only added to the cacophony of the boardroom executives' heated shouting.

12. Capitulate

Definition: to stop fighting or surrender (as in a social battle or negotiation)

Example: The CEO refused to capitulate to Terry's salary demands, so she tendered her resignation.

13. Catch-22 

Definition: a lose-lose paradox in which the only solution to problem is prevented by circumstance or often a means of entrapment or political maneuvering (from the novel of the same name)

Example: Lolita's boss presented her with a catch-22 — she couldn't work another shift without a doctor's sign-off, but couldn't afford another doctor's appointment without a paycheck.

14. Cavalier

Definition: disdainful or unceremonious

Example: His cavalier attitude toward customers made the manager wonder if he had any respect for others.

15. Chimera

Definition: something or a combination of things that's so odd or improbable that it shouldn't logically exist, but does

Example: The software suite of billing and graphic design software was a chimera, but the company managed to sell enough units to make a profit.

16. Clandestine

Definition: something done in secret, usually with a hidden or nefarious agenda

Example: The president had to fire her vice president when she found out he was making clandestine deals with the competition.

17. Cogent

Definition: well-reasoned, logical and compelling

Example: Ally's points were well founded, but her inability to present a cogent argument left the stockholders wondering if she was the right woman for the job.

18. Conundrum

Definition: a difficult problem

Example: Jackie was charged with solving the shipping conundrum before the company lost money.

19. Cronyism

Definition: partiality to one's friends, often evidenced by favors or promotions they don't deserve or are unqualified for

Example: The boss' cronyism became apparent when he appointed his fraternity brother's deadbeat son as vice president.

20. Delineate

Definition: to precisely describe or outline

Example: To ensure things ran smoothly, the team moved to the conference room to delineate their plan on the whiteboard before beginning the project.

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Comments on "100 Words that instantly make you sound smarter"

Barbara July 23, 2013 | 3:38 PM

... or that you're an insecure person who uses big words when small ones will do!

Amy July 17, 2013 | 12:19 PM

On #28, it uses "mail" instead of "male". I suppose spell check missed it?

Cristina Sierra July 17, 2013 | 10:04 AM

Great list! I like the word "remunerate" - it's a fancy word that means "pay me". Great for women in business that don't love negotiating / talking about compensation.

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