An extensive vocabulary can be a powerful writing and speaking tool; it can also be misused, made to make others feel powerless. Never use a five-dollar word where a fifty-cent word will do the job just as well or better. Do we really need utilize when a three-letter word, use , will nicely suffice. Risible is a lovely word, but is it worth sending your readers to the dictionary when laughable is at hand? It's a good question. On the other hand, don't cheat yourself or your readers out of some important nuance of meaning that you've discovered in a word that's new to you. At some point you have to assume that your readers also have dictionaries. It's sometimes a tough line to drawbetween being a pedantic, pretentious boor (Oh, there are three dandies!) and being a writer who can take full and efficient advantage of the English language's multifarious (another one!) resources.