30 Words to Start Using When You Turn 30

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

I’m a word guy, always have been. Give me shapely sentence structure over numbers and formulas any day of the week. When a conversational partner drops some top notch phonics into an everyday exchange it turns me on. If you break me off a voluptuous vocab treat that I am not familiar with, you can bet your posterior that I’m heading to a dictionary site to look that baby up yarely (with quickness or agility).

The other day my boss described someone he had once met as “oleaginous”, which means “rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily or greasy”. I had to look it up, but how awesome is your vocab when you can assign that adjective to someone instead of just calling them something like a “slimeball”? Pretty awesome if you ask me. Kill ‘em with words, I say.

That’s when I decided that there should be a certain “lazy vocab cutoff” in a young adult’s life. A point at which we stop settling for simple semantics and start really using our words. After all, that’s what they’re there for. Here are 30 words that you should start using once you turn 30, because well, 30 seems like as good an age as any to grow up, right?

[NOTE: The new words are safe for work, the WHAT WE SAID BEFORE sentences are not always safe for work]


NEW WORD: hubris

HOW TO USE IT: “Philip’s hubris will lead to his ultimate undoing.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE 30: “Philip is cocky as a muhfucker but he’ll get his in the end.”


NEW WORD: dalliance

HOW TO USE IT: “I enjoyed a brief dalliance with that woman, she was lovely but ours was a love not destined to last.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE 30: “I hit that.”


NEW WORD: crestfallen

HOW TO USE IT: “Empty-handed and crestfallen, Beatrice returned home with no biscuits for her family.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “Bea just came from Target but she couldn’t even swing her lazy ass through the refrigerated section and grab me some damn Pillsbury Grands. How am I supposed to set off this dope dinner party with out FUCKING BISCUITS? She does feel bad about it though.”


NEW WORD: surreptitious

HOW TO USE IT: “Bonnie carried out a surreptitious operation as to keep her partner’s surprise party a secret.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “Bonnie kept the surprise party a secret, as if that’s difficult when your partner is blind, lives in another state, and broke up with her 7 weeks ago. You’re a regular Surprise Party Seal Team 6, Bonnie.”


NEW WORD: pensive

HOW TO USE IT: “I love how pensive Martin looks in this photo.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “Martin looks like he’s shitting his pants in this picture.”


NEW WORD: forbearance

HOW TO USE IT: “Ned filed for a forbearance on his student loans.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “Ned hasn’t made a payment on his student loans since 2007, and by ‘Ned’ I mean ‘I’. ”


NEW WORD: acquiesce

HOW TO USE IT: “The family demanded crunchy taco shells, and Gretchen acquiesced.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “Even though Gretchen worked all day to make soft flour tortillas from scratch, her clown of a husband and rat-faced kids had to have hard shells, so she went to the store and got some.”


NEW WORD: histrionics

HOW TO USE IT: “The histrionics Barney exhibited while adjusting his backpack were a touch on the dramatic side.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “Look at Barney jacking with his backpack straps and flailing around like a seagull with a leg cramp.”


NEW WORD: dulcet

HOW TO USE IT: “I could listen to the dulcet tones of your soothing voice all night long.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “Your voice sounds pretty.”


NEW WORD: resplendent

HOW TO USE IT: “She was resplendent in a colorful but classy sundress that highlighted her most attractive features.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “I’d hit that.”


NEW WORD: cathartic

HOW TO USE IT: “Nathan found that talking about his grandmother’s peg leg was somewhat cathartic.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “No lie- Nathan’s grandma has a peg leg. I know right?? And he will NOT stop talking about it.”


NEW WORD: halcyon

HOW TO USE IT: “The later escapades of the Scranton Dunder Mifflin crew were a far cry from the halcyon days of the early seasons.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “The Office sucked after Carell left.”


NEW WORD: opulent

HOW TO USE IT: “Tonight we ride in the opulent comfort of a limousine.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “We are straight ballin’ tonight, players.”


NEW WORD: plethora

HOW TO USE IT: “Anyone who has seen ¡Three Amigos! knows what a ‘plethora’ is.”



NEW WORD: travail

HOW TO USE IT: “After many minutes of travail, Garth was able to wrestle his carry-on suitcase from the overhead compartment.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “This dickhole in the elastic waistband jeans is holding up the entire plane while he gets his outrageously huge bag out of the overhead bin. I think he farted too.”


NEW WORD: whimsy

HOW TO USE IT: “The store’s hours of operation seemed to be subject to the shopkeeper’s whimsy.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “The place is open from 7am to 8:19am on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Crazy old bastard.”


NEW WORD: approximately

HOW TO USE IT: “This list has approximately 30 words, hopefully no one will count.”

WHAT WE SAID BEFORE: “We learned the word ‘approximately’ in 4th grade, 17 words is not ‘approximately’ 30.”


I really didn’t think anyone would still be reading this far down. If you are, and you feel cheated, I will email you a word a day until I fulfill my promise of 30. All these big words make me tired.



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