5 Words to Help You Sound Smarter

These words can expand your vocabulary effortlessly – read on for examples of how to use each one in a sentence.

Here are five new words that can help expand your vocabulary. The trick is to incorporate them into your speak organically, and you’ll be sounding smarter in no time.

Non sequitur

(noun) – definition: a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement
This is used when someone abruptly changes the subject or adds information to a conversation that had nothing to do with the previous subject. Non sequitur is a mouthful, but a great word to use when someone says something that makes no sense.

We were just talking about horses and you brought up the winners of Olympic figure skating? That’s a weird non sequitur.


(noun) – definition: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
This is a trait that people use to make connections with one another. They draw on their own experiences, so that they can relate to and help others. It’s a short word, but don’t be fooled by how powerful it can be.

(positive): His teacher had showed him empathy when he was a boy and that had a lasting impact on his life. It was his inspiration for becoming a teacher.

(negative): They had never shown anyone empathy before and there was no reason to believe that they ever would.


(verb) – definition: surprise someone greatly; astonish
Personally, flabbergasted is one of my favorite words. It can be used as both a positive and negative and I love how expressive it can be.

(positive): I was flabbergasted by how well the book was adapted into a movie. I’d love to see that one again!

(negative): My entire class was flabbergasted when we got our exams back. We knew the exam would be hard, but that was ridiculous!


(adjective) – definition: wicked or criminal, typically of an action or activity
If all Disney villains could be summed up in one word, that word would be nefarious. They’re up to no good and usually do things in a very sneaky way.

Example: The jealous queen had a nefarious plot to trick Snow White into eating a poisoned apple.


(noun) – definition: cruel and bitter criticism
There’s no way to sugar coat this one. Vitriol is a word used to convey a deeply held sense of bitterness or intense dislike. Simply put, using a word like vitriol is a more refined way of saying that someone hates a certain thing.

His reviews were known for being filled with vitriol and no one ever read them because of how negative they were.

Practice is the best tool.

Try using these words when and where you can, whether you’re writing sentences or saying them out loud. One great place to practice is by playing the Wordshake Daily Puzzle

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