100 Words to Make You Sound Smart

Note: Catch-22 is missing from this list.

The editors of the American Heritage® Dictionaries are pleased to present the newest title in the best-selling 100 Words series, 100 Words to Make You Sound Smart. Whether you need to ace an interview, give a speech at a wedding, attend a dinner party, or impress a date, just a quick browse through this book and you'll be on your way to sounding articulate, educated, and literate. 100 Words to Make You Sound Smart is the perfect resource for anyone who wants to sound sharp, sophisticated, and in the know.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. accolade
    a tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction
  2. acrimony
    a rough and bitter manner
  3. angst
    an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety
  4. anomaly
    deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule
  5. antidote
    a remedy that stops or controls the effects of a poison
  6. avant-garde
    radically new or original
  7. baroque
    relating to an elaborately ornamented style of art and music
  8. bona fide
    not counterfeit or copied
  9. boondoggle
    work of little or no value done merely to look busy
  10. bourgeois
    being of the property-owning class
  11. bravado
    a swaggering show of courage
  12. brogue
    a thick and heavy shoe
  13. brusque
    marked by rude or peremptory shortness
  14. Byzantine
    of or relating to or characteristic of the Byzantine Empire or the ancient city of Byzantium
  15. cacophony
    loud confusing disagreeable sounds
  16. camaraderie
    the quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability
  17. capricious
    determined by chance or impulse rather than by necessity
  18. carte blanche
    complete freedom or authority to act
  19. caustic
    capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action
  20. charisma
    personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others
  21. cloying
    overly sweet
  22. deja vu
    the experience of thinking a new situation already occurred
  23. dichotomy
    being twofold
  24. dilettante
    an amateur engaging in an activity without serious intention
  25. disheveled
    in disarray; extremely disorderly
  26. elan
    enthusiastic and assured vigor and liveliness
  27. ennui
    the feeling of being bored by something tedious
  28. epitome
    a standard or typical example
  29. equanimity
    steadiness of mind under stress
  30. equivocate
    be deliberately ambiguous or unclear
  31. esoteric
    understandable only by an enlightened inner circle
  32. euphemism
    an inoffensive expression substituted for an offensive one
  33. fait accompli
    an irreversible accomplishment
  34. fastidious
    giving careful attention to detail
  35. faux pas
    a socially awkward or tactless act
  36. fiasco
    a complete failure or collapse
  37. finagle
    achieve something by means of trickery or devious methods
  38. Freudian slip
    a slip-up that (according to Sigmund Freud) results from the operation of unconscious wishes or conflicts and can reveal unconscious processes in normal healthy individuals
  39. glib
    artfully persuasive in speech
  40. gregarious
    temperamentally seeking and enjoying the company of others
  41. harbinger
    something indicating the approach of something or someone
  42. hedonist
    someone motivated by desires for sensual pleasures
  43. heresy
    a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
  44. idiosyncratic
    peculiar to the individual
  45. idyllic
    charmingly simple and serene
  46. indelicate
    slightly indecent, offensive, or improper
  47. infinitesimal
    immeasurably small
  48. insidious
    working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way
  49. junket
    dessert made of sweetened milk coagulated with rennet
  50. kitsch
    excessively garish or sentimental art
  51. litany
    any long and tedious address or recital
  52. lurid
    glaringly vivid and graphic; marked by sensationalism
  53. Machiavellian
    of or relating to amoral or conniving political principles
  54. malaise
    a general feeling of discomfort, uneasiness, or depression
  55. malinger
    avoid responsibilities and duties
  56. mantra
    literally a `sacred utterance' in Vedism
  57. maudlin
    effusively or insincerely emotional
  58. mercenary
    a person hired to fight for another country than their own
  59. minimalist
    a conservative advocating only minor reforms in government
  60. misnomer
    an incorrect or unsuitable name
  61. narcissist
    someone who is excessively self-centered
  62. nirvana
    the beatitude that transcends the cycle of reincarnation
  63. non sequitur
    a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it
  64. nouveau-riche
    characteristic of someone who has risen economically or socially but lacks the social skills appropriate for this new position
  65. oblivion
    the state of being disregarded or forgotten
  66. ogle
    look at with amorous intentions
  67. ostentatious
    intended to attract notice and impress others
  68. ostracize
    expel from a community or group
  69. panacea
    hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases
  70. paradox
    a statement that contradicts itself
  71. peevish
    easily irritated or annoyed
  72. perfunctory
    hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough
  73. philistine
    a person who is uninterested in intellectual pursuits
  74. precocious
    characterized by exceptionally early development
  75. propriety
    correct behavior
  76. quid pro quo
    something for something
  77. quintessential
    representing the perfect example of a class or quality
  78. red herring
    diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue
  79. revel
    take delight in
  80. rhetoric
    study of the technique for using language effectively
  81. scintillating
    having brief brilliant points or flashes of light
  82. spartan
    unsparing and uncompromising in discipline or judgment
  83. stigma
    a symbol of disgrace or infamy
  84. stoic
    seeming unaffected by pleasure or pain; impassive
  85. suave
    having a sophisticated charm
  86. Svengali
    someone (usually maleficent) who tries to persuade or force another person to do his bidding
  87. sycophant
    a person who tries to please someone to gain an advantage
  88. teetotaler
    a total abstainer
  89. tete-a-tete
    a private conversation between two people
  90. tirade
    a speech of violent denunciation
  91. tryst
    a secret rendezvous, especially between lovers
  92. ubiquitous
    being present everywhere at once
  93. unrequited
    not returned in kind
  94. untenable
    incapable of being defended or justified
  95. vicarious
    experienced at secondhand
  96. vile
    morally reprehensible
  97. waft
    a long flag; often tapering
  98. white elephant
    a valuable possession whose upkeep is excessively expensive
  99. zealous
    marked by active interest and enthusiasm

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