11 Adjectives Everyone Should Use More Often

Some have been pushed to the back of your vocabulary. Others are just plain fun to say. Either way, these are the adjectives you need to spice up your conversations.

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Delightful; entrancing. Ravishing is one of those adjectives you would imagine that British men in movies based on Jane Austen novels used to describe women they see dancing at a ball and automatically fall in love with. It captures more than beauty; it implies a sense of mystery, intellect, and cunning. It also sounds like the word radish, which is equally delightful and fun to say.

Surprise! These five words mean the opposite of what you think.

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Laughing woman in marine shirt with curly hair over white wall. Toothy smile and red lips.
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Happy or joyous; also, showing a casual and cheerful indifference considered to be callous. A blithe person easily finds joy in life, often through a carefree attitude that doesn’t take anyone else into consideration. Case in point: Elvira, the titular ghost in Noel Coward’s play, Blithe Spirit, who literally died laughing at a BBC radio program. Her version of fun in the afterlife is attempting to kill her still-living husband so they can be reunited. Nothing wrong with that, right?

“Blithe” is pretty easy to say, but you’re probably pronouncing these six words wrong.

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Too evident to be doubted; unquestionable. Indubitable is indubitably one of the most fun adjectives—nay, words!—to say in the English language, but not nearly as fun to say as indubitability. And that is an indubitable fact.

Psst—here’s the real reason some English words have silent letters.

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Young boy reaching for a snickerdoodle cookie in his kitchen. Photo taken in a home in Reno, Nevada, USA using natural window light.
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Having or showing initiative and resourcefulness. This word sounds like one of the adjectives you’d find in an Economics 101 textbook, which either excites you or makes you break out in a cold sweat. While it can be used to describe someone starting a business, enterprising should be used in other contexts as well. An enterprising child too short to reach the cookie jar can brainstorm and execute plans of action to get what she wants just as inventively as any CEO. Don’t miss these words you didn’t realize were examples of onomatopoeia.

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Not capable of being imitated; unique. The modern Shakespeare, Lin-Manuel Miranda, created countless works of grammatical and syntactic art in his musical Hamilton, but one of the most powerful moments in the show is the line he wrote for Aaron Burr: “I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable. I am an original.” It’s sung with such inspiring fervour and confidence that you start believing it yourself. Whenever you think life is getting the best of you, just remember: You are inimitable.

Careful—these 17 English words have totally different meanings in other languages!

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Incapable of being expressed in words. You know that feeling where something is so extraordinary or overwhelming that you feel like you can’t put it in words? Well, you can. The adjective you’re looking for is ineffable. You’re welcome.

Here are 10 more words that immediately make you sound old.

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Looking or sounding sad and dismal. Although the word is used to describe downright gloomy people, objects, and situations, it’s pretty hard to stay sad when you’re saying lugubrious. Maybe it’s because the word “goo” is mixed up in there. Maybe it’s because it rhymes with hilarious (sort of). Maybe it’s because you remember Pain, the goofy pink minion in the Disney movie, Hercules, using it to address his master, Hades: “Coming, your most lugubrious-ness!” Think lugubrious is a tongue-twister? Here are 10 of the hardest English words to pronounce, according to non-native speakers.

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Not having any serious purpose or value. Being called frivolous definitely isn’t a compliment, and you would never want to do frivolous work at your job, but the good thing about both of those situations is that you would get to use the adjective frivolous. It sounds a bit old-fashioned, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it when describing the time your well-to-do neighbour went out and bought a goat for no reason at all.

Although “frivolous” is a word you can now slide into casual conversation, these 10 slang words from the 1920s remain very, very weird.

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Lasting for a very short time. Why use such a long, tongue-twister of an adjective to describe something that could be over by the time you’re done saying the word? It sounds eloquent, for one thing. But it’s also a word that implies some nostalgia, like the ephemeral joys you had as a child or the ephemeral obsession the world had with Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out.”

Don’t miss these 25 homophones people confuse all the time.

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meal time at pizzeria, man taking a slice of the pizza shot with very thin depth of field
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Expressing a feeling of intense longing for something. Wanting pizza for dinner is one thing. A yearning hope for pizza is something much more powerful. It’s more than a want. You need the pizza. Nothing can satisfy your desire except the pizza. Not calzones, not open-faced paninis—only pizza. You may have been deprived of pizza for a considerable amount of time and are now able to break free from your pizza-less shell of a life. Of course, yearning can be applied to things other than pizza, but those strong desires are likely the same. Use the right word to describe them.

Now that you know how to use “yearning” properly, check out these 12 comma rules everyone should know.

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Filled with or showing great emotion. Adjectives like heartfelt and wholehearted are used with the best intentions: a heartfelt apology, wholehearted condolences. Perhaps we think that because they contain the word heart, they add that much more emotion to what we’re trying to say. But they are used so often that there’s not much figurative heart left in them. Impassioned appears less often in everyday speech, but it carries more intensity. A heartfelt speech may make you cry; an impassioned speech stirs your soul and inspires you to act. If you start using the word more frequently, you may just find yourself becoming more impassioned, too. Next, check out 10 more words we no longer use (but totally should)!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest