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16 Phrases and Words that Make You Sound Smart!

What makes a person sound smart? Though there are many different definitions of what “smart” even means, the reality remains that certain vocabulary words that make you sound smart that cause people’s eyes light up with awe.

Having been an English teacher for the past 18 years, now, I’ve compiled this list for you of 16 fabulous phrases and vocabulary words which are useful, impactful, and impressive. Experiment with using them, and let us know the effects!

Words that Make You Sound Smart:

Pop a few of these phrases and fancy vocabulary words into your speech and writing, and watch how impressed people are with how smart you sound! Here are definitions, example sentences, and further reading to learn more. Enjoy...

What Does “Smart” Mean?

I can’t use the word “smart” without adding a vital caveat: The word “smart” is problematic, and has been used in oppressive and inaccurate ways. For example, “smart” is often correlated with a specific cultural group’s norms (often the hegemonic white, Western culture) — a practice which it is essential to unpack, deconstruct, and subvert. Why? Let’s examine the countless ways there are to “be smart.”

Other Forms of “Being Smart”

“Smart” takes an infinite number of forms. It spans physical smarts (as with a brilliant athlete), creative and artistic smarts, emotional smarts (as with a child who finally learns how to apologize), and more.

“Being smart” or “sounding smart” is not just about a specific way of talking or writing, or even about getting high grades. It’s about showing passion and skill development in any area — meaning every single person and every single living being is smart in its own way.

Why are “Smart Words” Still Useful?

All that said, I’m using the term “smart” in this article because each of the words in this list represents a concept which is AWESOME — and important. For example, knowing what a “liminal space” is opens up a wide new world of emotional smarts and spiritual, energetic understanding which is hard articulate without that phrase. Fancy words may be fun, but they’re also profoundly useful.

Words that make you sound smart
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Which of these “Words to Sound Smart” is YOUR Favorite?

Looking at this list of “words that make you sound smart,” which are your favorites, and why? If you’ve tried some out, what were the effects? Do share!