WORDS THAT IMPRESS




These words all have a few things in common: they are capable of widening in amazement the eyes of whoever hears them; they sound complicated and therefore intelligent; if used properly, they can make your writing and speaking more intellectual (or more pretentious). What binds them, then, is an abundance of syllables.



WORDS THAT IMPRESS
Key: The word's language of origin appears directly below it, and to the right of that is an example sentence and an etymology, along with any related themes.

Word
Phonetic Pronunciation
Part of Speech
Definition
argentiferous
Latin
ar-jen-TI-fer-us
containing silver
Ex.

Ex. 2.
Etym.
Rel. Themes:
I see you have bedecked yourself in argentiferous riches in an effort to dissuade me from ogling other women.
The Mississippi is often mined for its argentiferous deposits of galena.
From the Latin argentum, "silver"
Words That Impress



doppelgänger
German
DOP-el-GANG-er noun 1. a ghostly counterpart of a living person
2. alter ego
Ex.

Etym.
Rel. Themes:
Each full moon, a doppelgänger follows in his steps, driving all traces of sanity from his brain.
German, “double goer”
Words That Impress



enfant terrible
French
ahn-FAHN ter-EE-bluh noun 1. a child whose inopportune remarks cause embarrassment
2. a person known for shocking comments or outrageous behavior
3. a usu. young and successful person who is strikingly unorthodox or innovative
Ex.

Rel. Themes:
Five years ago, Napster founder Sean Fanning was the enfant terrible of the file-sharing business.
French Phrases | High-Falutin' Insults | There's A Word For That? | Words That Impress



esprit d’escalier
French
eh-SPREE des-kal-i-YE noun a witty remark thought of too late
Etym.

Rel. Themes:
From the notion that one thinks of the perfect remark on his way out (literally, “wit of the staircase”).
French Phrases | There's A Word For That? | Words That Impress



grandiloquent
Latin
gran-DIL-o-kwent adjective 1. pompously eloquent
2. making a show of knowledge by using large words
Ex.
Rel. Themes:
He was so grandiloquent I could barely understand him.
Big Words About Big Words | There's A Word For That? | Words That Impress



hyperborean
Greek
high-per-BOR-ee-un adjective 1. of or relating to an extreme northern region: frozen
2. of or relating to any of the arctic peoples
Ex.

Etym.

Rel. Themes:
Although she had endured many a hyperborean winter during her childhood, she always wore a jacket whenever the mercury dipped below 60.
From Greek hyper- "above" + Boreas "god of the north wind." Literally, "beyond the north wind."
Apo Mythologia | Little-known Synonyms for Well-known Words | There's A Word For That? | Words That Impress



legerdemain
Middle French
le-jer-duh-MAIN
le-ZHER-du-MAIN
a display of skill or cleverness, esp. for deceitful purposes
Ex.
Etym.
Rel. Themes:
The Democratic candidate won a senate seat in a dazzling display of political legerdemain.
From the French leger de main, or “light of hand.”
Words That Impress



lexiphanicism
Greek
lex-i-FAN-i-ciz-em
the use of pretentious words or language
Ex.

Rel. Themes:
The style of many 19th-century poets suggests they all took a university-level course in lexiphanicism.
Big Words About Big Words | Words That Impress



magniloquent
Latin
mag-NIL-o-kwent
1. extravagance in speech
2. bombastic in style or manner
Ex.
Rel. Themes:
He was so magniloquent I could barely understand him.
Big Words About Big Words | Words That Impress



obnubilate
Latin
aub-NOO-bi-late
to becloud or obscure
Ex.

Rel. Themes:
The judge’s ruling included excessive amounts of dicta, which did nothing but obnubilate his main points.
Complex Words For Simple Things | Little-known Synonyms for Well-known Words | Words That Impress



[Top]
oneiric
Greek
o-NIGH-rik
of or relating to dreams; DREAMY
Ex.
Ex. 2.

Rel. Themes:
Salvador Dali was a master of oneiric landscapes.
The warm rays of the sun and the subtle buzzing of insects cast an oneiric haze over the whole afternoon.
Little-known Synonyms for Well-known Words | There's A Word For That? | Words That Impress



prestidigitation
Italian
Latin
pres-tuh-dij-i-TAY-shun
sleight of hand, esp. when performing magic tricks
Ex.

Re. Themes:
Had I not dealt the cards myself, I would have sworn my friend had engaged in prestidigitation to win the hand.
Complex Words For Simple Things | Words That Impress



sesquipedalian
Latin
ses-kwi-pi-DALE-yen adjective 1. having many syllables
2. tending to use long words
Ex.
Etym.
Rel. Themes:
I prefer the more sesquipedalian Wall Street Journal to the local papers.
Literally, "a foot-and-a-half long," from Latin sesqui- + ped- (foot).
Big Words About Big Words | Words That Impress



trichotillomania
Greek
try-kuh-ti-luh-MAY-nee-uh noun an abnormal desire to pull out one's hair
Ex.
Etym.
Rel. Themes:
Greg's trichotillomania left him with frayed eyebrows and a random array of bald spots.
From the Greek trich- "hair" + tillein "to pull, pluck" + -mania "madness."
There's A Word For That? | Words That Impress



vertiginous
Latin
ver-TIJ-i-nus adjective 1. tending to produce vertigo or dizziness
2. inclined to frequent and often pointless change; inconstant
3. revolving; whirling; rotary
Ex.
Rel. Themes:
The ship hurtled along at a vertiginous speed as it climbed to the very parapets of Heaven.
Likely Literary | Words That Impress





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