20 Vocabulary Words You Should Use More Often

Grow your vocabulary with this rich list of 20 of my favorite words. Use these words more often in writing and everyday life.

20+ Vocabulary Words You Should Use More Often

A rich vocabulary can strengthen your essay, advance your career, and give you a robust way to express yourself. Throughout college, grad school, and beyond: use these words to elevate your speech and your writing.

1. Archaic (adjective)
Definition: very old or old-fashioned
Example: Record players are archaic and are not commonly used.

2. Zephyr (noun)
Definition: a brief gusty wind
Example: There was a nice zephyr outside today.

3. Quiescent (adjective)
Definition: peacefulness, dormant, inactive
Example: It is nice to have a quiescent day to spend with friends and family.


4. Plethora (noun)
Definition: excess, a large amount
Example: Johannes has a plethora of oranges in his cart.

5. Ersatz (adjective)
Definition: used instead of something else, often because the alternative is expensive
Example: Mary ate the ersatz chocolate because of the war rations, but it didn’t taste like real chocolate.

6. Poignant (adjective)
Definition: touching and moving
Example: The Pursuit of Happyness is a memorable and poignant movie.

7. Abate (verb)
Definition: to become smaller
Example: It seemed that over time, the football team’s wins began to abate.

8. Sycophant (noun)
Definition: a person who flatters to gain personal favors
Example: We all become sycophants when a cop pulls us over for a speeding ticket!

9. Ravenous (adjective)
Definition: extremely hungry
Example: Goldilocks was ravenous, but she could not eat the first two bowls of porridge!

10. Defunct (adjective)
Definition: no longer existing or functioning
Example: Funky music, hair, and clothes from the 1970s are now defunct!

11. Munificence (noun)
Definition: being extremely generous, the quality of being lavishly generous
Example: The king’s munificence helped feed thousands of the poor, starving villagers.

12. Juxtaposition (noun)
Definition: two different, contrasting things being compared side by side
Example: Today, I juxtaposed the difference between Mac and Windows computers.

13. Alacritous (adjective)
Definition: brisk or lively
Example: The alacritous young boy jumped into a pile of leaves.

14. Exquisite (adjective)
Definition: extremely beautiful and flawless, often delicate
Example: The queen wore an exquisite ring that had been in the royal family for centuries.

15. Altercation (noun)
Definition: a noisy argument or disagreement
Example: Olivia and Alyssa had a loud altercation in the mall.

16. Obsolete (adjective)
Definition: no longer used
Example: New technology can quickly become obsolete as new technology comes out.

17. Polychromatic (adjective)
Definition: multicolored, showing a variety or change of color
Example: The beautiful painting was polychromatic.

18. Albeit (conjunction)
Definition: although
Example: Tom began painting the fence, albeit with a grumpy attitude.

19. Incandescent (adjective)
Definition: giving off light after being heated, someone brilliant
Example: The incandescent lightbulb shone brightly in the whole room.

20. Banal (adjective)
Definition: boring and lacking in originality
Example: That new pop song is so banal!

Enjoy this list? You’ll Love The Ultimate Language Arts Cheat Sheets, filled with grammar hacks and vocabulary substitutions!
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