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100 Words that instantly make you sound dumber

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Open mouth, insert foot

The way you speak with friends may be inappropriate in a professional situation. Are you sabotaging your career with any of these words that make you sound less than intelligent?

31. Fewer vs. less

Fewer refers to quantity, or something that can be counted. (Jenny has fewer quarters than Sally.) Less implies mass, volume or amount. (Sally has less money than Jenny.)

32. Fixing to

Definition: slang meaning about to, going to (usually Southern)

The phrase is common in some dialects, but is nonetheless colloquial. Instead, use "about to" or "going to."

33. Gay

Definition: cheerful or merry; homosexual

When referring to an object that's cheerful or an openly gay male, this term is acceptable. Do not use it as a synonym for "lame." It's both potentially offensive and a misuse of the term.

34. Gazillion

Definition: an extremely large number; a lot

Technically, it's not a nonsense word. It has its place (for example, when you know it's a lot, but have no idea how many). But in discussions relating to business, it's unprofessional and hyperbolic.

35. Ginormous

Definition: extremely huge

It can be a well-placed adjective in informal speech to make a point, but in a professional setting, it sounds juvenile. Try gargantuan instead.

36. Gobsmacked

Definition: astounded

While this word is most commonly used in the U.K. (it's a fun one that's making an appearance in the U.S.), it shouldn't be avoided overall. But note that it's not God-smacked.

37. Good

Definition: positive, pleasing

Good is a good word... unless you mean well. You do good work. (Adjective) You mean well. (Adverb)

38. Gots

Got is the past tense of get. At no time is there a reason for it to be plural.

39. Guess-timate

Definition: to estimate with little or no data

Guess-timation has no place in a serious conversation. It's a fruitless exercise as it's based on a total lack of information in the first place. If it's based on knowledge, evidence or at least some data you have, it's just an estimate.

40. Height

Definition: vertical length

You'll note that there's no H after the T. It's HITE, not HITETH.

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