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Words That Make You Sound Smarter — Because, Yes, We All Need a Little Help

41. Hedonistic

Definition: pertaining to the pursuit of pleasure or blatant self-gratification

Example: The Lonely Island’s parody “I’m on a Boat” is a commentary on the hedonistic lifestyle glamorized by many modern music videos.

42. Impeccable

Definition: flawless; free from or incapable of fault or blame

Example: While he liked Kyle’s more adventurous designs, the boss decided to put Kaylie, whose impeccable code is more reliable, in charge of the website.

43. Incisive

Definition: penetrating, biting or remarkably clear (tone, words, etc.)

Example: Dan tried to counter the damaging points made by the defense attorney, but in the end, her points were too incisive and the jury sided with the defendant.

44. Indelicate

Definition: lacking in manners or good taste; tactless

Example: Juno indelicately remarked to the obese woman, “you shouldn’t be drinking if you’re pregnant!”

45. Infinitesimal

Definition: so small it can’t be measured

Example: The effect of the change to the cheaper formula was so infinitesimal, it was hardly worth mentioning.

46. Insidious

Definition: treacherous or deceitful (often related to entrapment) 

Example: Email spammers who attempt to impersonate your friends are particularly insidious.

47. Juxtapose

Definition: place two items close together and side by side (often referring to objects that may at first seem to be in opposition or contrast)

Example: To illustrate her point about how far the company had come, Mary juxtaposed the image of the company’s original product with the modern version.

48. Kibosh

Definition: to stop something

Example: Mom quickly put the kibosh on Bobbie’s plans to wear a skimpy dress to prom.

49. Leverage

Definition: to exert influence on to gain the desired effect (in business)

Example: A buyer can limit the leverage of the seller if she doesn’t seem desperate.

50. Litany

Definition: a long list or recital (of excuses, reasons, etc.)

Example: Meagan had a litany of excuses for her miscalculation — many were valid, some were not.

Up next: More words that instantly make you sound smarter

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