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21 Words That Are Meant to Sound “Smart”- But Make People Look Dumb When Using Then Wrong

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Exercising a measure of restraint sometimes serves as a guise for intellectual shortcomings. Paradoxically, certain individuals, in their efforts to convey cleverness, inadvertently use phrases that, despite their sincere intentions, diminish their perceived intelligence.

If you don’t want to appear like your thinking is challenged, avoid using these words that people on an online forum revealed.

1. Rocket Appliances

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If it’s very hard, we say it’s rocket science. But some people missed the ‘science’ bit, and end up saying ‘appliances.’

Just say it’s difficult. People will understand. Leave the rockets out of it.

2. Indubitably

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Indubitably means “without a doubt.” An online conversation contributor says, “Once [this word is] in a conversation [it becomes] wordplay; more than that is cringe.”

No doubt about that.

3. Water Under the Fridge

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If an event is already in the past, it’s water under the bridge. If there’s water under your fridge, call the fridge repair man.

4. Get Two Birds Stoned

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If one action gets to solve two tasks, you have killed two birds with one stone. An online commenter shared that some people say, “Get two birds stoned at once.”

That must be illegal somewhere.

5. Fishes Cycle

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When one problem leads to another, we say it’s becoming a vicious cycle. As a user says, some people call this the “Fishes cycle.”

6. Survival of the Fitness

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Natural selection says only the fittest survive. Some people confuse that with “fitness” as an online user notes.

Darwin is rolling his eyes in the grave.

7. Supply and Command

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This simple model of micro-economics is called “Supply and demand.”

Some people get confused on the demand bit and end up sounding ignorant.

8. Specific Ocean

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The Pacific Ocean seems to be a little confusing for some people, who end up calling it the Specific Ocean.

9. Axed

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What they mean is they “asked.”

Don’t ax someone, you might go to jail for a long time.

10. Intensive Purposes

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An online discussion contributor says this phrase is erroneously used instead of “For all intents and purposes.”

Just saying “Effectively” would suffice.

11. Partake

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Another user says, “Every da*n st*ner I’ve ever met uses the word “partake”. Half of my students thought the definition of “partake” was “to sm*ke p**”.

12. Literally

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A user says, “I don’t know if it’s to sound clever, but these people – and there’ll be a lot on this thread – use the word “literally” with reckless abandon… seemingly to reinforce their point. It’s infuriating.”

13. Architect

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A contributor says people who use “”architect” as a verb” don’t sound very smart.

If you’re an architect who has been called an architecture before, we apologise.

14. Big Words

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One may think using big words makes them look intelligent. However, they only make it look like you’re trying too hard.

“If anyone uses the word ‘discombobulate’ then I automatically assume they are a moron.”

Discombobulate is very confusing.

15. Decimated Vs Devastated

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How do we describe a bad situation?

“This is just a pet peeve, but people keep using the word decimated when really they mean devastated. Decimate means to reduce by 10%, that’s really not that bad.” A user says.

16. The Reality Is…

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One man shares that he has to hold in his eye rolls when his co-worker starts her sentences with “The reality is…”He says it’s always followed by an idiotic statement that she clearly knows nothing about, even though she’s attempting to sound smart.

17. Myself

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One man says they’ve created a meme at work for all the times that someone has said “myself” instead of “me” when referring to themselves.

18. Mouth feel

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Apparently this phrase and “flavor profile” are new way that foodies are talking about texture and taste. Someone goes on to say that these phrases are only for pretentious weirdos.

19. Silly Office Words

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A few office workers share their continual eye rolls when their bosses use words like “synergy” and “sync” during meetings that are a total waste of time.

20. More Office Words in Meetings

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When in a useless work meeting, a few people cite that they are over a few go to phrases. Someone writes, “Lot’s of “circling back” and “touching base” I presume.”

21. Narrative

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This word is so overused these days to talk about peoples’ agendas or underlying stories, that its lost it’s charm.


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