I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I've noticed that certain commentators enjoy using big words that only a select audience will get. While most of us can comprehend the meaning of a term in the context in which it’s used, this got me thinking about how rarely we go back and look up the definition of the words we hear.
Since I like to learn new things, which includes expanding my vocabulary, I compiled this list of 32 big words we might come across, including a section with
seven big yet common political words that people often throw around without understanding their true meaning. I invite you to study some of these words alongside me.
Let’s get started…
1. AESTHETIC - concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty
Her outfit was aesthetically pleasing.
2. ANOMALY - something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected
The anomaly in the data set really threw off our findings.
3. COLLOQUIAL - informal language that is more typically used in conversation than in writing
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to use such colloquial language; I was just upset.
4. CONTRIVED - not natural or genuine, forced
I could tell their relationship was contrived and not based on real emotions.
5. CYNICAL -believing that people are motivated by self-interest rather than honest or unselfish concerns
After years of working in politics, he had become quite cynical about the whole system.
6. DEFERENTIAL - showing respect, especially to people of high rank
She was very deferential to her boss, even though she didn't agree with him.
7. DISPARATE - different or distinct from one another
We come from disparate backgrounds but share many of the same values.
8. DYSTOPIA - an imaginary place where life is terrible because of oppression or terror
The novel is set in a dystopian future where the government controls everything.
9. ECLECTIC - made up of a variety of sources or styles
She has an eclectic taste in music, which is evident by her record collection.
10. EGREGIOUS - very bad or offensive
His behavior was so egregious that he was immediately fired from his job.
11. ELITIST - believing that some people are inherently better than others
She was accused of being an elitist because she only hangs out with wealthy people.
12. EMPIRICAL - based on observation or experiment rather than theory
The empirical evidence doesn't support his claims.
13. ENDEMIC - a problem or disease that is constantly present in a particular area
Poverty is endemic in many parts of the world.
14. ENCUMBER - to make someone or something slower, less agile, or less effective
The extra weight encumbers him, and he can't move as quickly as he wants.
15. EQUIVOCATE - to avoid giving a clear and direct answer, especially to a difficult question
The politician was good at equivocating when he didn't want to answer a question.
16. EXACERBATE - to make a bad situation worse
The drought has exacerbated the already dire conditions in the region.
17. EXISTENTIAL - relating to the existence of something
The existential crisis he was going through led him to quit his job and move to the country.
18. FACETIOUS - not serious, often in an attempt to be funny
He made a few facetious comments about her weight, but she didn't seem to mind.
19. GAMUT - the complete range or scope of something
The company offers a wide gamut of services.
20. HYPERBOLE - an exaggeration or overstatement
She was known for using hyperbole, so no one knew if she was being serious.
21. IMPEACH - to charge a public official with a crime committed while in office
The president was impeached but not convicted.
22. IMPLICIT - implied or suggested though not directly expressed
There was an implicit understanding that she would get the promotion.
23. INCONGRUOUS - out of place and not in harmony with the surroundings
The incongruous sight of a penguin in the desert was quite baffling.
24. INFAMOUS - known for some bad quality or deed
He was infamous for his dishonest business practices.
25. INHERENT - existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
Honesty is an inherent quality that all good leaders possess.
26. INSIDIOUS - gradually harmful or deadly in a way that is not easily noticed
Smoking is an insidious habit that can lead to serious health problems.
27. INTREPID -brave and determined
The intrepid explorers braved the dangerous conditions in search of a lost city.
28. MODICUM - a small or moderate amount
Despite her success, she still lives a modest life and has a modicum of possessions.
29. PARADOX - a situation that contradicts itself or common sense
It's a paradox that the more we learn, the more we realize how little we actually know.
30. OXYMORON - a figure of speech that combines two contradictory terms
Awfully good, pretty ugly, and only choice are a few examples of oxymorons.
31. REDUNDANT - unnecessary because it has already been said or done
The explanation was long and redundant.
32. SAGE - wise and experienced
The sage advice from my grandfather was always in the back of my mind.