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

71. Ramification

Definition: results, consequences or implications

Example: As she drove back to work, Catriona was nervous about the ramifications of losing her company’s biggest client.

72. Red herring

Definition: something intended to divert attention from the actual problem or situation

Example: To prevent the competition from knowing what they were really working on, the tech company introduced a red herring in the form of a false rumor.

73. Rejoinder

Definition: a clever or witty response

Example: Emily’s sparkling rejoinders made her popular with the group very quickly.

74. Reticent

Definition: reluctant to speak or speak freely (often confused with reluctant, which means unwilling)

Example: Laura was reticent on the subject of her children because her son is in jail.

75. Rhetoric

Definition: the effective use of speech, especially that which is exaggerated to make a potentially erroneous point

Example: Despite the fact that Leslie agreed with Tom’s analysis, she distanced herself from his over-the-top rhetoric.

76. Rife

Definition: abundant, abounding; prevalent

Example: The store was rife with customers, so the manager was forced to open a new register.

77. Ruminate

Definition: to think about something thoroughly and in great detail

Example: Elysia ruminated about her hiring decision for several days before choosing raw talent over experience.

78. Sanguine

Definition: accepting even negative circumstances with a positive attitude

Example: While it would make her job more difficult, Theresa was sanguine when she was told she’d have to complete the project a week earlier than expected.

79. Spartan

Definition: sternly disciplined, rigorously simple, frugal or austere

Example: He made plenty of money, yet lead a Spartan lifestyle in his 600-square-foot apartment and drove an early model Honda Civic to work each day.

80. Stalwart

Definition: a loyal and reliable member or supporter

Example: Even after she retired as librarian, Pearl remained a stalwart supporter of local book drives.

Up next: More words that instantly make you sound smarter

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