‘Whatever’ Named Most Annoying Word…Again
December 19, 2011

‘Whatever’ Named Most Annoying Word…Again

For the third straight year Americans call “whatever” the most annoying word or phrase in English conversation, according to the latest Marist Poll released on Friday.

The Marist University Poll, from the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, founded in 1978 at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, asked 1,026 adults what the most annoying word in English conversation was. They were given five options: whatever, like, just sayin´, you know, and seriously.

Roughly 38 percent of American adults said the use of “whatever” in conversations rubs them the wrong way most often. One in five people -- 20 percent -- say “like” is most irritating, while 19 percent are most annoyed by those who say “you know.” The phrase “just sayin´” and “seriously” follow with 11 and 7 percent of the vote, respectively.

Surprisingly, the poll found 5 percent of respondents were unsure which word or phrase was the most annoying to them.

It is hard to beat “whatever” in any contest over annoying because the word is so versatile. It can be used as a pronoun, an adjective and an adverb, making it a triple threat in any conversation.

In last year´s poll, 39 percent of respondents said “whatever” was the most annoying, and further back, in 2009, a whopping 49 percent disliked the term.

Also, “whatever” beats out the other parts of speech in all geographic, demographic and other subcategories as well, according to the poll.

People in the south are most annoyed by the term compared with the rest of the country. Baby Boomers dislike the word more than Generation X -- 43 percent to 37 percent. And 40 percent of women find “whatever” most annoying, compared to 35 percent of men.

While the term clearly has staying power, some rejected that “whatever”, a word popularized in the 1990s film Clueless, was truly the worst word to come out of people´s mouths over the past decade or so.


On the Net: