Words That Make You Sound Smart – 12 Ideas

8 – Panacea

Definition of Panacea: The solution to all problems and difficulties. Can also refer to something presented as a cure to all illnesses.

This word is about 500 years old and comes to use from the Latin and Greek traditions, referring to a goddess of universal healing. She and her sisters and brothers represented different aspects of the art of healing. Her special gift was a poultice (basically a bandage) or potion which could heal any illness. This was considered a powerful gift in ancient times, albeit one which is unbelievable to modern ears.

Modern usage often focuses on policies and technologies that are presented as sweeping solutions to large and complex problems, guaranteed to solve every possible difficulty. Frequently with a subtle message that what is being presented is slightly bogus and promises more than will be delivered.

Sample Uses:

“The consultants offer their solution as a panacea but they don’t know the details of our business”

Our Next Word describes a low budget way of living…

9 – Spartan

Definition of Spartan: Simple, frugal, disciplined; invokes images of people living in military barracks.

The word Spartan invokes memories of the Greek city of Sparta, famous for her focused warriors. While their bravery in battle is the usual subject of movies and stories, what is amazing about these guys is the degree of discipline they had in their lives. They started training from an early age and focused most of their energy around getting ready for war, with few luxuries and indulgences.

Use this word to indicate a low budget, no-frills approach to living and getting things done.

Sample Uses:

“The room was Spartan, containing a simple bed and chest of drawers.”

Incidentally, our next word is the complete opposite…

10 – Sumptuous

Definition of Sumptuous: Lavish, splendid, and expensive. Fit for a king.

This word is about five hundred years old and comes to us from Latin, derived from the Latin word sumptus which means “expense”. So a sumptuous display is one which is luxurious and likely very expensive. Think about rolling out the red carpet and putting out your Sunday best.

This is a nice way to describe dinner at the best restaurant with an unlimited expense account.

Sample Uses:

“Her hospitality was legendary, with tales of a fancy parlor and a sumptuous buffet.”

Our Next word refers to special knowledge…

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