Big words and their meanings: easy-to-understand definitions for difficult terms

Those who use the English language to write and communicate have different perspectives about using big and difficult words. Some individuals consider them to be a sign of strong vocabulary, others believe their use to be purposeless if you cannot get your point across to the masses.

Whatever be your viewpoint, a little knowledge about big words and their meanings would do no harm. If anything, they would make you appear well-informed and learned in front of those who use them to intimidate you.

Here is a list of big words along with their explanations.


We often come across this word during seminars and business interviews. We smile and nod our heads as if we tend to understand everything, but how many of you know that acumen refers to our decision-making skills and the ability to make appropriate judgments with respect to the situation?

Here’s how you can use it correctly in a sentence:

“It is very important to hire a lawyer with business acumen to resolve a corporate dispute successfully.”


Many times, we get thrilled by the “big moment” in our favorite movie or television drama. In a split second the truth is revealed. It is the turning point where the lead character makes a significant decision that alters the ongoing storyline and leads us to the climax.

That moment is referred to as the anagnorisis.


How many of you knew that apropos is another way to say appropriate?

And, a very cool one, we must admit.


Assiduous refers to the quality of being diligent.

To better understand this term, visualize your colleague who always makes an extra effort to meet deadlines, even if it involves staying late at the office.

Now you know what type of people are referred to as assiduous.


The best idiom to explain the concept of circumlocution is beating about the bush. It means using multiple words where few can suffice, often as an attempt to deliberately dodge the question or present a vague answer.

Let’s admit, that’s something we all do when we are asked irrelevant questions.


When trying to understand big words and their meanings, we often try to link an unknown word to its homonyms. For example, without knowing the meaning of the term “cupidity”, most of us would probably assume that it refers to love or romance, because ‘Cupid’ is the name of the God of Love in Greek mythology.

However, you might be surprised to know that ‘cupidity’ refers to one’s greed for wealth and material things.


Something that is likely to cause harm or have unfavorable consequences for you, would be referred to as deleterious.

For example, it would be appropriate to say that an expired drug can have a deleterious effect on the patient’s life.


Fortuitous is an adjective used to refer to someone who is fortunate. It may also be used to describe occasions or instances that were brought about by luck rather than conscious planning or intention.

Here’s how you can use this term in a sentence:

“Her successful career was brought about by a series of fortuitous events.”


Do you know of another way say second-last?

Whether you knew it before or not, but now you certainly do because that`s what is the meaning of this difficult-sounding word “penultimate”.


We all have certain friends or the office colleagues whom we can’t trust at all. Such people are bound to betray their group for personal gains.

The term “perfidious” is used to describe such untrustworthy and disloyal people.


We all have friends who tend to complain a lot over petty matters to seek undue attention. Sometimes when struggling to explain their personality to others, we find ourselves at a loss of words.

“Querulous” is a term that describes such fussy people accurately.


Fabulous, fantastic, wonderful, beautiful.

These are the few words that we use to praise someone or something.

The word “splendiferous” is used in a similar context as the above-mentioned terms.

Learning these big words and their meanings would spare you the time and effort to open a thesaurus the next time you look for a unique synonym or antonym for commonly used words.

We hope this list proves to be a useful learning tool and helps you understand some difficult and uncommon terms of the English language.

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