Don't even think about going that way. Using words that you, or the people you're talking to, don't understand will only make you feel frustrated.
If you want to build your vocabulary the simplest and best way is to read. You don't have to read the great writers -- anything at all will help -- and when you find a new word you don't understand look it up, either on-line or in a dictionary. That way you're not only learning the word, you're learning how and when to use it.
"Vocabulary words" you mean? To me, if you're only using a big word just to sound smart, you're not really smart. It really depends on how much you know about the word you're using that makes you smart.
You can be smart and use little words to get your message across. Using big words does not make you smarter or even make you feel smarter. Learning does that. If you try to use words you are not familiar with, or those around you are not familiar with, you will appear to pompous and taking down to people.
4 months ago
Last edited at 6:24PM on 8/4/2013
That's a good question. The old discussion is about whether language acts as a cloak or a mold. I personally think it is the latter.
The Eskimos have 11 different words for snow. I have only one. Their ability to assign differences to the types of snow verbally is a great advantage to the understanding of the phenomenon of snow.
As the other answers indicate, having too large a vocabulary can actually make conversation more difficult. If people can't understand the words you are using, communication suffers.
I would suggest you buy a vocabulary book with a number of chapters where the chapters group words around a concept. That way you will get a feel for the use of various words to describe similar phenomena but that still point out subtle differences.
After you get a feel for the powers and uses of language, you will have a better idea of how you can best use it to your advantage.