71 Big Words You Should Probably Never Use If You Don’t Want To Sound Dumb

70+ Big Words That Will Make You Feel Smart

The biggest word in the English language is 189,819 letters long, and takes three hours to pronounce! More commonly used big words are several syllables long, and often make people feel smart when they say them out loud. Somewhat ironically, however, study after study has shown that using big words usually makes people sound dumb.
Unsplash / Rob Hobson

There is a time and a place for big words. If you’re a writer, you might want to be careful about how often you invoke long words that no one has ever heard of before. Mark Twain has a few good quotes about why writers should be economical and precise:

“Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

With that said, below is a list of some of the biggest words in the English language, which you can choose to ignore, or insert into your writing and vocabulary. Remember, sometimes, a big word works better. Try to insert a new word into your vocabulary every day until you’re able to use them naturally, without thinking about it. Here are some big words that you can use to sound smart around your family and friends, along with their meaning so you use them in the correct way:

Big Words (A)

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1. Abstentious

Self-restraining; also the longest word in the English language to use all five vowels in order once

2. Accoutrements

trappings, esp. related to apparel

3. Acumen — ability, skill

4. Anachronistic — a story that didn’t actually happen

5. Anagnorisis — the moment in a story when the main character realizes something that leads to a resolution

6. Anomalist — difficult to classify

8. Apropos — appropriate

9. Arid — dry

10. Assiduous — painstaking; taking great care through hard work

11. Auspicious — signaling a positive future

Big Words (B-C)

12. Behoove — something that is a personal duty

13. Bellwether — the first sheep in a flock, wearing a bell around its neck

14. Callipygian — having large, round, succulent buttocks

15. Circumlocution —the act of using too many words

16. Consanguineous — of the same blood or same ancestor

17. Conviviality — friendliness

18. Coruscant — sparkling

19. Cuddlesome — cuddly

20. Cupidity — greed

21. Cwtch — from the Welsh word for “hiding place”; the longest word in English to be entirely composed of consonants

22. Cynosure — center of attention

Big Words (D)

23. Deleterious — harmful

24. Desideratum — something needed or wanted

Big Words (E)

26. Enervating — exhausting

27. Equanimity — level-headedness

28. Euouae — a medieval musical term; the longest word in a major dictionary entirely composed of vowels

29. Excogitate — to plan

Big Words (F)

31. Florid — red and inflamed

32. Fortuitous — lucky

33. Frugal — cheap, thrifty

Big Words (G-M)

34. Gasconading — bragging

35. Grandiloquent — verbally pompous

36. Hackneyed — clichéd

37. Honorificabilitudinitatibus — an extremely long-winded way to say “honorable”; at 27 letters, the longest word in the work of William Shakespeare; also the longest word in the English language featuring alternating consonants and vowels

38. Idiosyncratic — peculiar

39. Indubitably — without a doubt

40. Ivoriate — to cover in ivory

41. Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypo…pterygon — (ellipsis used because the word is 182 letters long) an elaborate fricassee; coined word that appeared in the play Assemblywomen by Aristophanes

42. Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylalanyl…isoleucine … the chemical name for titin, the largest known protein; ellipsis used because at 189,819 letters, it’s the largest known word and takes over three hours to pronounce

43. Milieu — environment

Big Words (N-P)

44. Nidificate — to build a nest

45. Nonchalant — carefree and unbothered

46. Osculator — one who loves or is loved

47. Paradigm — model

48. Parastratiosphecomyiastratiosphecomyiodes — a species of fly native to Thailand

49. Parsimonious — cheap

50. Penultimate — second to last

51. Perfidious — treacherous

52. Perspicacious — perceptive

54. Proficuous — profitable

55. Predilection — preference

56. Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism — an inherited thyroid disorder

57. Psychotomimetic – inducing psychotic alteration of behavior and personality

Big Words (Q-Z)

58. Querulous — fussy

59 Rancorous — bitter and argumentative

60. Remunerative — lucrative

61. Rotavator — a soil tiller; at 9 letters, the longest palindromic word in the English language (i.e., it’s spelled the same way backwards)

62. Saxicolous — something that lives on rocks

63. Sesquipedalian — involving long words, just like this article

64. Splendiferous — wonderful

65. Squirrelled — put away; the longest one-syllable word in the English language

67. Supercilious — when a person is arrogant

68. Synergy — extra energy generated by cooperation

69. Unencumbered — free

70. Unparagoned — without equal

71. Winebibber — an alcoholic Thought Catalog Logo Mark