12/14: “Whatever” Retains Title of “Most Annoying Word or Phrase”

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Living, Odds and Ends, Odds and Ends Polls

It’s “like” “whatever!”

©istockphoto.com/christiangrass

©istockphoto.com/christiangrass

According to The Marist Poll, “whatever” remains the most annoying word or phrase in conversation today.  39% of Americans despise the often tossed about term.  The uber-filler “like” is deemed the most irritating by 28%.  “You know what I mean” is considered the biggest verbal gaffe by 15% of the population.  “To tell you the truth” grates the most on 10% while “actually” receives the dubious distinction from 5%.  Three percent are unsure.

In October 2009, “whatever” was crowned king with 47%.  Other annoying words and phrases included in that survey were: “you know” (25%), “it is what it is” (11%), “anyway” (7%), and “at the end of the day” (2%).  Eight percent were unsure.

Younger Americans, those 18 to 29, currently have a different take.  44% of these residents wouldn’t mind if “like” is abolished in everyday conversation.  Their older counterparts disagree.  Among those 30 to 44, 37% say “whatever” gets on their nerves the most.  46% of Americans 45 to 59 and 40% of those 60 and older agree.

Table: Most Annoying Conversational Word or Phrase

Marist Poll Methodology

The Marist Poll’s Mary Azzoli discusses our latest “annoying words” poll:

Comments

55 Responses to “12/14: “Whatever” Retains Title of “Most Annoying Word or Phrase””

  1. Barry Pallot on December 14th, 2010 2:02 pm

    My father use to say in conversations with you, MAYBE your’e right. It drove us crazy as he would never admit he was wrong.

  2. Starlet on December 14th, 2010 5:52 pm

    OMG! Like, you know, like, whatever!

  3. Angietihi on December 14th, 2010 11:24 pm

    What about “yes no”? What do people mean when they say this?

  4. Bag of Randomness on December 15th, 2010 1:35 am

    [...] “Whatever” Retains Title of “Most Annoying Word or Phrase” [...]

  5. Bernie on December 15th, 2010 10:59 am

    The most annoying one and also most over-used in my opinion is ‘Oh my Gaaaaaaad”

    Nothing religious about this, I just don’t see the point of the expression

  6. End-of-Year Lists? Whatever! | on December 15th, 2010 1:04 pm

    [...] of speech, He also gave us the capacity to annoy our fellow humans. A recent poll conducted by Marist College found that many of us do that most effectively by using the word “Whatever!” to dismiss [...]

  7. who cares on December 15th, 2010 1:05 pm

    Errr Whatever!

  8. ThatAustralianChick on December 15th, 2010 6:23 pm

    I can understand why older people dislike the word “whatever”. If my long, and thought out sentence that was relevant to a conversation was just brushed off with a trivial word such as “whatever”, I would be peeved too.

    I, as a younger person, do find the word “like”, used in the context of “like he totally”, “he was like angry” or “and “I was like totally like” the most annoying.

  9. Katya on December 15th, 2010 11:17 pm

    To tell you the truth… :) the post was mentioned at http://twitter.com/4qlearning

  10. Skip on December 16th, 2010 2:27 am

    Interesting poll of those younger Americans. A similar poll of those older and not necessarily wiser would be interesting. Such a poll should include the word “Forward”; as in moving or looking.

  11. Tim Buse on December 16th, 2010 3:26 am

    I agree, “whatever” is the most annoying word of the year. But, what about “Awesome” or “no fly zone”. Like you know what I mean!!!

  12. Chris Smith on December 16th, 2010 3:30 am

    What a total waste of reseach time – or whatever

  13. Richard Savoy on December 16th, 2010 4:33 am

    “basically”, “actually”, “having said that”, “going forward”, “win-win situation”, “really”, “seriously”, “back in the day”, “back in [insert year]“, “bottom line”, “fun [used as if it were an adjective...a "fun" time], “proactive”, “incentivize” [as if ti were a word], “robust”, “permanentize”..yes, some of the air-heads use that too], and of course, the odious “whatever”.

    As soon as I hear a one of these or of the many other execrable sounds the air heads mutter, I dismiss the speaker and begin again to think how much I prefer the company of our son’s Labrador Retriever. He never utters any preposterous set of sounds.

  14. Terry Little on December 16th, 2010 5:22 am

    If you use the phrase “to tell the truth” it implies that you don’t always”tell the truth”.
    I have since stopped using it because I always “tell the truth”.

  15. The Most Annoying Word Of 2010 « MIX 105.1- The Best MIX of the 80s, 90s and Today on December 16th, 2010 8:00 am

    [...] group at Marist University in Poughkeepsie, New York put together a list of the most annoying word of 2010 and [...]

  16. Terry Nelson on December 16th, 2010 8:12 am

    I’d like to vote on the most annoying word for 2011. I already know what it is. It’s the word people/news commentators/writers freely drop into sentences all over the place. The word? literally

    Example: He was feeling really sick, but he literally got up and went to work anyhow (how can he figuratively get up?).

    Or: She was tired of shopping so she sat down and literally put her feet up to rest. (how can she figureatively put her feet up?)

    Or: Madoff was convicted of literally stealing millions of dollars from people. (how can Madoff figureatively steal millions?))

    I thought “literally” was used to distinguish something from “figureatively”, not as a modifier to be thrown in front of any non-figureative thing or action. Grrrr,,,it’s irritating. Am I wrong on this?

    Tell me where to vote next year. I’ll be there or…..whatever.

  17. paul fedewa on December 16th, 2010 2:32 pm

    Regarding the Marist Poll of most annoying words. Don’t forget the word “look” that every news reporter and commentator puts in front of their story when reporting. I don’t need to “look”-I just need to hear the freakin story!

  18. Toni on December 16th, 2010 2:43 pm

    A phrase I could well live without is ‘No problem!’ It has become so common, especially with the younger generation. If I’m in a restaurant for example, and a waitress brings me something I need, I always say ‘Thank you.’ Almost without exception I receive a ‘No problem!’ If I had thought it was going to be a problem, I wouldn’t have asked for it in the first place. A simple ‘You’re welcome’ would have been far more appropriate. Please!!!!!! Let’s get rid of ‘No problem!’

  19. Wilum on December 16th, 2010 3:07 pm

    So, after reading your list, I noticed one word which must have slipped by. I thought I would “remind” you… It’s starting sentences with the word, so!

  20. 5 Most Annoying Words of 2010 - CBS MoneyWatch.com on December 16th, 2010 3:17 pm

    [...] phrase of 2010? The ubiquitous teen dismissal: “Whatever.” Or so says the second annual Marist poll, conducted by researchers at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, [...]

  21. Greg on December 16th, 2010 4:15 pm

    Top of my list is “So, I’m like….”, “So, he’s (she’s) like….. Not only us it ugly by itself but one has to listen not only to a boring, self-referenced story, but to endless, utterly inane dialogue as well. “So, I’m like ‘No Way!’ So he;s like ‘Way, man!’ So, I’m like ‘No way, Dude’. So, he’s like ‘Yes, way, man, no s–t’. So, I’m like ‘Whatever, Dude’.” Just shoot me.

  22. Rich Leister on December 16th, 2010 5:10 pm

    How bout “ya know” Cant stand it used three or four times every sentance.

  23. Jane on December 16th, 2010 5:43 pm

    “Seriously?….(repeat)..I mean, seriously??” NO! I’m Lying!!! hate it!

  24. jan on December 16th, 2010 9:02 pm

    I’d like to add the expression “it sucks” as my most annoying expression. It’s only part of a very rude and crude expression and I think many people who say “it sucks” don’t know the derivation of the expression. It woud be nice to be able to talk with a teenager or 20 something and have him complete just one sentence without saying “like” or “whatever”.

  25. Roddy on December 17th, 2010 12:07 am

    To Richard Savoy-Add “leverage” used as a verb to that list.

  26. Anne on December 17th, 2010 2:33 am

    So sick of hearing that phrase, ”Let me be clear”

  27. Lisa on December 17th, 2010 3:38 am

    You forgot ‘that being said’ what is the point to that phrase? I think that deserves to be number 3.

  28. karl on December 17th, 2010 5:22 am

    A: Whatever. Actually, at the end of the day, it is, like, basically no problem.

    B: You know, to tell you the truth, it is was it is, not like it was back in the day, you know what I’m sayin’? Like?

    A: Word.

  29. More Words We Love To Hate | Laurie Boris on December 17th, 2010 2:27 pm

    [...] to a recent Marist College poll of over a thousand American adults, “whatever” was chosen as the most annoying word or [...]

  30. "Whatever" voted most irritating word in poll | NewsPak on December 18th, 2010 1:12 am

    [...] the second consecutive year “whatever’ topped a Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English [...]

  31. Joanne Caradonna on December 18th, 2010 2:42 pm

    As an easily discouraged idealist , I really don’t mind hearing , it is what it is .In fact , often , I find it helpful and I’m often thankful for the reminder . I find these comments amusing . I can listen to just about any word being used , as long as there is sincerity and humility behind the use of it . However . “whatever ” , is such an arrogant and lazy brush off , that 99.99% of the time , I can’t help but feel offended by it . I pass the torch to the next disgruntled listener of the English language . ( On that note : If we all listened more , we would have alot less to be disgruntled about ) .

  32. "Whatever" voted most irritating word in poll « NewsPak on December 19th, 2010 2:14 pm

    [...] the second consecutive year “whatever’ topped a Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English [...]

  33. Vincent on December 19th, 2010 3:23 pm

    Your list seems spot on. A very good read.

  34. Jim Kennedy on December 19th, 2010 7:11 pm

    The word “like” belongs on your list and suggests to me a device for the speaker to avoid taking responsibility for what he/she said. She says “He was like totally angry and like out of control.” If “he” confronts the speaker, she could say I didn’t say you were out of control, I just said you were “like” out of control.

    A classic weasel word.

  35. Jim Kennedy on December 19th, 2010 7:33 pm

    What does it mean, “Your comment is awaiting moderation?”

  36. Surveys, Bad Sports and Special Deliveries | Simply Diane… on December 20th, 2010 8:58 am

    [...] THE WORD? According to a group at Marist University “Whatever” has taken top honors two years in a row as the most annoying word in the English [...]

  37. Elizabeth on December 20th, 2010 2:39 pm

    I love that we can distinguish our age brackets by voting on linguistic annoyance!

    (Maybe we can also pinpoint geographic annoyance – judging the habit of certain northwest coast folks who begin far too many sentences with, “So…”, and end each one inflecting up, as if to incite the raising of eyebrows.)

    I’m with Toni, who on December 16 mentioned my pet peeve: “No problem” for the more gracious, “You’re welcome” or “My pleasure!”

    When I hear, “No problem” in response to my “Thank-you,” I just want to shoot back a “Whatever!”

    Happy New Year everyone!

  38. Susan on December 21st, 2010 12:24 am

    I really get irritated when people use “MY BAD”. I have even seen it in a business email.

  39. Utterly Obnoxious Utterances: “Whatever” Deemed Most Annoying Word - TIME NewsFeed on December 21st, 2010 2:01 pm

    [...] Marist University poll has honored "whatever" as the most annoying word in existence. Despite its frequent appearance in [...]

  40. Daniel Evan on December 21st, 2010 3:38 pm

    Maybe it hasn’t begun to enrage everyone else yet, but beginning with some point during the last presidential campaign, every time I hear the (“verb”) “game-changer,” I want to either hang myself or move to the deepest hole in Siberia, or anywhere English isn’t spoken. It would seem hearing this can be a real “game-changer” for my mood.
    On the other hand (which is another fairly meaningless phrase), maybe such verbiage is fully intentional, serving the purpose of enticing the listening into annoyance, and thus failing to regard the complete uselessness and stupidity of whatever statement was being made (is “whatever” still usable in this context?).
    Other meaningless phrases which should be obliterated from the collective consciousness (a totally bastardized phrase) include: “god forbid”, “the end-all be-all”, “the Liberal Media”(never figured out who that is), and… I think I’ll just stop there (not their or they’re) and proclaim: anytime you are speaking and find yourself no longer putting thoughts into strings of words, but instead into strings of prepackaged phrases, then you should break your television, unhook the cable and read some literature (that isn’t a NY Times Bestseller). Or just keep your TV and go get your job at Starbucks back; idiot’s do have a place, and I might just be desperate for bad coffee someday.

  41. Evan on December 23rd, 2010 12:01 am

    Maybe it hasn’t begun to enrage everyone else yet, but beginning with some point during the last presidential campaign, every time I hear the (“verb”) “game-changer,” I want to either hang myself or move to the deepest hole in Siberia, or anywhere English isn’t spoken. It would seem hearing this can be a real “game-changer” for my mood.
    On the other hand (which is another fairly meaningless phrase), maybe such verbiage is fully intentional, serving the purpose of enticing the listening into annoyance, and thus failing to regard the complete uselessness and stupidity of whatever statement was being made (is “whatever” still usable in this context?).
    Other meaningless phrases which should be obliterated from the collective consciousness (a totally bastardized phrase) include: “god forbid”, “the end-all be-all”, “the Liberal Media”(never figured out who that is), and… I think I’ll just stop there (not their or they’re); anytime you are speaking and find yourself no longer putting thoughts into strings of words, but instead into strings of prepackaged phrases, then you should break your television, unhook the cable and read some literature (anything that isn’t a NY Times Bestseller). *The rest of my comment is being left out to see if I get approved by the “comment moderator” this time.

  42. Reklama on December 28th, 2010 10:10 am

    Totally agree with this. It can’t be worse than hearing it. I just can’t stand .

  43. Lana Frank on December 30th, 2010 12:50 am

    I just realized that we are the most annoying family on earth. My son says “You know what I mean” at least every other sentence. My daughter says “It is what it is” over everything. My husband says “at the end of the day” about everything he is trying to make a point about.. and I use “whatever” about all of it. LOL

  44. R Coker on January 5th, 2011 5:26 pm

    I don’t really like the choices in the survey. “Like” and “whatever” are annoying, but there are several NEWER ones that are even more irritating in my opinion:

    1. “Really?” – When used to condescendingly express skepticism or disbelief. The key word there is condescendingly. Unfortunately this is everywhere now. I’m afraid to honestly confirm something someone has told me without that person thinking I’m being a dbag.

    2. “Robust”

    3. “Make no mistake”

    4.

  45. Suzan on February 5th, 2011 8:14 pm

    It is HIGHLY irritating when someone continuously says “blah, blah, blah”; repeating “right, right, right” during a face to face or telephone conversation. And, “EXACTLY” wayyyyyyyyyyyy to frequently. Just STOP IT already.

  46. Wally on February 14th, 2011 2:00 am

    “En-j-o-y !” just drives my friend up the wall.

  47. Angietihi on February 14th, 2011 10:53 pm

    Wally, you have pinpointed the word that just makes me want to throw up! “En-j-o-y !” It has to nearly take the prize with whatever. Actually it should take the prize it is so revolting. In fact it is worse than whatever, it is definitely first prize material.

  48. John on May 30th, 2011 7:30 am

    My number one would have to be ‘deja vu all over again’ aaaaaggggh. Why doesn’t anything start anymore? it kicks off and you can’t have a point of view, you, have to ‘weigh in’.

  49. WHATEVER: nation’s most annoying word — Jedword on December 23rd, 2011 8:38 am

    [...] recent report by the Marist College Poll has determined that the singularly most annoying word in this (hopefully) transient vocabulary is [...]

  50. The Most Annoying Phrase Or Word In Conversation - Country 106.5 WYRK Radio on January 4th, 2012 8:19 pm

    [...] According to a recent Marist Poll, the term “Whatever” is still the most annoying word or phrase.  38% of the people polled said that that was the term that pushes their buttons the most.  Actually, it has been at the top of that poll since October of 2009. [...]

  51. rocky racoon on January 5th, 2012 4:31 pm

    really!?!! like I totally think – whatever – they so don’t live in cali
    — i know, right? just sayin’…

  52. What Words Or Phrases Do Recruiters Use That Drive You Crazy? | A Recruiters Guide to the Universe on January 10th, 2012 9:33 am

    [...] In December the annual list of most annoying words and phrases was released with some of what you would expect and a few surprises (check out the list here). [...]

  53. kim fox on January 11th, 2012 5:54 pm

    I feel ” to each his own” phrase is one that i would like to use now to
    express how i feel about this subject!!! (at least i think that is a phrase)LOL

  54. My Least Favorite Word: Whatever | Ms. Mindbody on May 18th, 2012 10:05 am

    [...] I’m not the only one who feels this way: a Marist College poll has found that Americans rank “whatever” the single most annoying phrase for several [...]

  55. The most annoying word in the English language | News1130 on November 23rd, 2012 7:14 pm

    [...] the second straight year, a Marist poll says it’s “whatever”, followed distantly by “like” and “you [...]

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