40 Big Words That Make an Impact In Speech and Writing

, Staff Writer
Updated January 9, 2023
student gives oral report in front of class with big words example list
    student gives oral report in front of class with big words example list
    SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images / via Getty created by YourDictionary
    Used under Getty Images license

Whether you’re giving a rollicking good speech or writing the next great American novel, being effective comes down to using the right words. Discerning the “right” words from the “wrong” ones can be hard and often comes down to your own voice and goals, but replacing filler words with more advanced terms (what some people like to call “big words”) is a great place to start.

Big Words To Use in Conversations

Sometimes you just need a specific word to describe the mood or moment. There are times when happy or sad just don’t feel correct. Thankfully, you have a million words to boost your everyday vocabulary.







disenchanted, disappointed

having lost one’s ideals, illusions, or ideas about something



excited, tremulous

in a state of excited agitation, trembling



junk, rubbish

work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy



bad, hurtful, damaging

causing harm or ruin



extraordinary, fantastic

surpassing, exceeding, or going beyond ordinary limits



ethereal, indescribable

unable to be described or expressed in words



wise, intelligent, clever

having keen mental discernment and judgment



fabulous, extraordinary, amazing

marvelous or wonderful



smitten, infatuated

strongly infatuated or obsessed



indirect, roundabout

the use of more words than necessary to express an idea


Sentence Examples Using Big Words for Conversations

Even with those large words jingling around in your head, understanding their usage can be confusing. You don’t want to confuse (or, worse, offend) your friends by misusing a word. Thankfully, reading some sentence examples can clear things up for you.

  • He became more disillusioned with his dream of becoming a dog rodeo clown.
  • All the adrenaline of riding the rollercoaster sent his body aquiver.
  • She spent extra time on that boondoggle because it was Friday and no one else was in the office.
  • As much as she disliked her mortal enemy, she had no pernicious wishes for her.
  • That single bite of German chocolate cake was absolutely transcendent.
  • They had an ineffable ability to immediately ease tensions and lift the mood in a room.
  • Our incredibly sagacious teacher always had the right answer for all of life’s problems.
  • In a most prodigious feat, she lifted the entire table above her head.
  • Ever since they’d met on that fateful weekend, he had been completely besotted with her.
  • The professor’s circumlocution made it nearly impossible to really learn anything from the lesson.

Big Words To Use in Speeches and Debates

When you’re giving a speech or debating, using sophisticated words can provide greater emotional resonance, add credence to your argument, or otherwise make your speaking flow more freely. Just make sure you know what the word means and how it's pronounced before you actually say it out loud.







basically, essentially, virtually

regarding the basic nature, character, or truth of something



important, main, vital

absolutely necessary or indispensable



better, greater, above

higher in station, rank, importance; above average in quality, standard, intelligence



talk about, look at, consider

to inspect or scrutinize carefully



next, afterward, finally

later in time; following or succeeding a part of something



fancy, ornate

elaborate or intricate



distinct, individual, characteristic

peculiar, characteristic of, or specific to an individual



setting, environment

surroundings, especially in a cultural or social context


Sentence Examples of Big Words Used in Speeches and Debates

Knowing the words and knowing how to use them are different things, so make sure you look at some sentence examples to get a good handle on proper usage.

  • The two candidates have fundamentally different opinions on the price of pizza.
  • Stage magic was an essential part of her upbringing.
  • This cheeseburger is far superior to the one provided by the school cafeteria.
  • Today, I plan to examine the role of grades in student success.
  • In examining the duties involved with this role, I have determined that our system is in dangerous lack of yo-yos and hula hoops.
  • Subsequently, the United States became allies with Great Britain and went on to have a long and friendly relationship.
  • The townspeople subsequently ate only brownies and hot dogs for the remainder of the season.
  • He gave quite the florid speech about properly applying fertilizer.
  • She had an idiosyncratic way of ordering food at the restaurant.
  • Despite growing up in a musical milieu, she had never learned to play a single musical instrument.

Big Words To Use in Essays and Other Academic Writing

The good news about writing is that you typically don’t have to say the words out loud, so you don’t have to worry about pronouncing words outside your purview. Still, knowing the right words will help you create the right writing flow for more effective essays.





show, display

to prove or make evident by arguments or reasoning


definitely, absolutely, surely

in a clear, unambiguous manner; in a manner that is not subject to exceptions or conditions


important, noteworthy

important and deserving of attention or consequence


many, much, a lot of

excess or overabundance


good, favorable, valuable

providing benefit; advantageous or helpful


big, large, significant

vast; huge, immeasurable


participate, involve

to participate or become involved in


strange, abnormal, irregular

deviating from what’s standard or expected


everywhere, all-over, omnipresent

present, appearing, or found everywhere


fondness, preference, partiality

a bias, preference, or special liking for something


Sentence Examples for Big Words Used in Academic Writing

As usual, building your vocabulary is all about knowing how to properly use words. You thankfully don’t have to worry about pronunciation, but checking out some sentence examples can give you a good idea of what to expect.

  • These results demonstrate that rats can be trained to push a lever if the reward is compelling.
  • The results unequivocally indicate that fertilizer may help plants grow, but it can also contribute to pollution.
  • Cats have played a significant role in the evolution of the internet.
  • Despite a plethora of options, the buffet did not have a satisfactory selection of chicken nuggets.
  • This proved to be a beneficial investment of time and money, and the company created many new products during this period.
  • There were some immense problems with this approach.
  • As you engage with the text, you’ll learn more about the merits of olive oil.
  • I found her use of mayonnaise on french fries deeply anomalous.
  • The trendy jacket had become so ubiquitous on campus that I switched to a different outfit.
  • She had a predilection for dogs with huge ears and squishy faces.

Big Words To Use in Creative Writing

The main difference between academic and creative writing is, well, the creativity involved. Maybe you want a certain number of syllables. Maybe you want to create a rhyme scheme or maintain assonance or consonance. Having the right words, big or small, can help you develop your creative writing abilities.





pretty, beautiful, elegant

very beautiful and delicate


big, huge, large

exceeding the common size or extent


small, tiny, little

extremely small


looked, saw

see or perceive partially or briefly


nice, good, kind

characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings


bad, evil

deserving hatred or contempt


grouchy, critical, complaining

peevish; full of complaints


skill, awareness, intelligence

shrewdness or keen insight


exciting, fascinating

vivacious; brilliantly clever


noise, discord, racket

a loud, harsh discordance of sound

Sentence Examples for Big Words Used in Creative Writing

With creative writing, you have a little more room to exercise your own voice and poetics. Depending on the task, you could turn an adjective into a verb or make a noun a descriptor. But it’s still worth seeing some sentence examples to get an idea of usage before plunging fully into creativity.

  • The tiara she wore that night was exquisite, sparkling with gems and polished metal.
  • John helped himself to an enormous serving of scalloped potatoes.
  • The single french fry had a diminutive effect on their hunger.
  • I glimpsed the final project of the semester and felt a cold chill run down my spine.
  • The king was a benevolent leader.
  • He did many despicable things in the name of science.
  • The way he simply threw out the entire pizza was a truly despicable act.
  • As much as we loved him, we had trouble with his querulous personality when he didn’t get his way.
  • We always went to her for advice because she had such great acumen in relationship matters.
  • Talking to her is always so scintillating that I feel like I become a better person after every conversation.

Why Be Common When You Can Be Remarkable?

You should use “big words” to maintain greater specificity and avoid filler words, like very or quite. A different word can help to change your tone, maintain a literary device, or help you get your message across.

At the same time, don’t force it if you don’t need to. You don’t need big words to sound smart. When you use a big word, you have a higher risk of using it incorrectly or sounding unnatural, which can lead to disingenuous writing or speaking.