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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?

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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?

51. Ironical vs. ironic vs. ironically

Technically, ironical is a word and means exactly the same thing as ironic. That being said, you may get some funny looks if you say it outside the U.K. Irony occurs when the outcome is different than what would have been expected (making it ironic or ironical). One uses ironically to denote an ironic tragedy. (Ironically, Telisia was killed in a car accident on the way to redeem her $5 million lottery win.)

52. Learn

Definition: to acquire knowledge

Learning is a good thing, but it's the action taken by the recipient of knowledge, not the giver. The giver of knowledge teaches. Ironically, while many think it's just modern slang. It's perfectly appropriate to school someone — you just can't learn them.

53. Laxadaisical vs. lackadaisical

If you're referring to someone who's laid back or lazy, it's pronounced LACK-UH-DAY-ZI-CUHL.

54. Libary vs. library

The word is pronounced LIE-BRAIR-EE.

55. Like

Definition: an informal interjection used as an introductory phrase, to fill a pause, to express uncertainty or to modify an adjective that follows. (That concert was, like, the bomb!)

While like is OK in its other uses, this "Valley girl" usage is inappropriate and makes you come off as juvenile.

56. Literally

Definition: in actuality, really

There's nothing wrong with the word when used correctly, but many use it when they actually mean "figuratively." It's unlikely that someone literally jumped 10 feet in the air — Michael Jordan's vertical leap is only about four feet.

57. Macabre

Definition: gruesome or grim

When you need this word, there's rarely another that works so well. The issue here is pronunciation. It's not a two-syllable word and the "re" syllable isn't silent. It's (most correctly) MUH-KAH-BRUH, but if you're uncomfortable with that, MUH-KAH-BER also works.

58. Mischievious vs. mischievous

If you mean playfully annoying, it's just MIS-CHUH-VUHS.

59. Misunderestimate

Definition: underestimated by mistake (Bush-ism)

Not a word, though a clever invention by our former president. While some have noted it is, perhaps, necessary, most will perceive it as uneducated.

60. Mute point

It's only a mute point if you turn the volume off on Fox & Friends. If you mean doubtful or pointless, you should say it's a moot (like a cow) point.

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