Pretentious (or "SAT words") you use in conversation

Some time back, I was branded “pretentious” by a friend of a friend because I used some “SAT words” in conversation.

Maybe because I read a lot, or enjoy leaning words, I tend to use some “big” words, kinda like you usually only run into while studying for the SAT or something. My wife enjoys when I do it, but she points it out to me so I don’t come off as a douche-wad to other people. I don’t really care though.

Some words I’ve used with some regularity over the years:


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I’ve been using “defenestrate” with increasing frequency due to the political situation in Russia.


The US was defenestrated a guy. Probably.

I’m a bit of an architecture nerd and I’m not afraid to use the word fenestration. Bonus points if you can use it as the antepenultimate word in a sentence.

I also enjoy the word abstruse.

Impetus is one I use every few weeks when I need to know the impetus of something.

Circumambulate if I want to ask somebody to walk around the building with me.

I love perfectly cromulent words.

Terse, banal, and subterfuge (though I can’t think of a good way to slip the latest into a work email) seem commonplace IMO. Maybe banal is a little unorthodox.

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I use superfluous sometimes, does that count?

I had somebody thank me for teaching them the word “conflate” recently, when “confuse” or “mix up” was not exactly the cromulent term.

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I use “crepuscular” more than the average bear, too.

Oh, nonplussed and bemused. Bemused is fun for sounding way different than its meaning.

don’t know any of these words

I used to memorize the SAT words.

I remember the first ones being abate, abet, abeyance.

Nonplussed is useless, because you can’t know how your audience will interpret it (and whether they will think you are using it correctly). The original (and outside the US, still current) meaning is to be confused by something… whereas the popular (to the extent the word is popular) US meaning is to be unperturbed by something.

So it either means confused or not confused, depending on the geography and education of your audience.

I’ve never heard nonplussed in the second context. Always meant confused afaik.

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YARN | I'm completely nonplussed. Is that the right word? | Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) - S01E06 The Wire | Video gifs by quotes | af639ce9 | 紗

Even without using any of those words I used to get teased for using “college words”.

My vocabulary isn’t even all that impressive, and I rarely use “big words” on purpose. (Although “terse” isn’t all that big.)

But whatever.

Oh, I used the word ‘attenuate’ once and it seemed almost nobody knew what that meant. Including my boss, who was a PhD economist and pretty well read. Or so I thought!

You’ll remember all the guys that said all those big words he must’ve learned in college


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Only when it is.

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I don’t know what antepenultimate means.

Job’s done!

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Escutcheons (@Mathman :upside_down_face:)

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