There is a smart high brow individual who insists of using rarely used big/complicated English meanings and Latin phrases in his daily communication to look smarter

I'm looking for a word to describe the behavior or characteristic of this person who uses rarely used meaning/phrases incorrectly or out of context to sound more intelligent but the layman doesn't pick it up. The consensus is this person is highly intelligent by listening to him, although if I examine what he says I disagree. How do I describe this?


John proclaims, I don't agree with Einstein's adhoc theory of relativity. Tony says he agrees with John's view.


John asks Peter, "What's up?" Peter tells John his is sad as his mother passed yesterday. John replies. "I'm sorry. By your ad hominem response I can see how deeply her passing impacted you. Don't let your beneffectance get you down." Tony says he feels the same way as John.

In the above scenario. John is * . Tony is *.

  • Well if they're using these phrases wrong, they're an idiot. Oct 19, 2016 at 6:00
  • yes idiot has impact but since they used such high brow words I would like to respond with an appropriate high brow word or phrase or to the layman I sound like the stupid one.
    – dfmetro
    Oct 19, 2016 at 6:34
  • Are they not simply pretentious? Pretending to be more erudite than they are.
    – Chenmunka
    Oct 19, 2016 at 8:44
  • Pretentious context is almost in all subjects, where as this individual he is smart but for an odd reason think that translates to speaking.
    – dfmetro
    Oct 19, 2016 at 11:43
  • 1
    The wrongly used terms are called 'malapropisms'
    – Mitch
    Oct 19, 2016 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


John can be described as a pseudo intellectual. Tom is impressionable, gullible or naive.

  • Great exactly what I was looking for, for John. How does on limit the term to the specific subject. Can I say he is a language pseudo intellectual, or English pseudo intellectual or pseudo intellectual in English?
    – dfmetro
    Oct 19, 2016 at 10:25
  • For Tom I think he is sycophantic
    – dfmetro
    Oct 19, 2016 at 10:58

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