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

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

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:

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55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Most Annoying Phrase Or Word In Conversation - Country 106.5 WYRK Radio

  2. Pingback: WHATEVER: nation’s most annoying word — Jedword

  3. John

    May 30, 2011 at 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’.

  4. Angietihi

    February 14, 2011 at 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.

  5. Wally

    February 14, 2011 at 2:00 am

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

  6. Suzan

    February 5, 2011 at 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.

  7. R Coker

    January 5, 2011 at 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.

  8. Lana Frank

    December 30, 2010 at 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

  9. Reklama

    December 28, 2010 at 10:10 am

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

  10. Evan

    December 23, 2010 at 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.

  11. Daniel Evan

    December 21, 2010 at 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.

  12. Pingback: Utterly Obnoxious Utterances: “Whatever” Deemed Most Annoying Word - TIME NewsFeed

  13. Susan

    December 21, 2010 at 12:24 am

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

  14. Elizabeth

    December 20, 2010 at 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!

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  16. Jim Kennedy

    December 19, 2010 at 7:33 pm

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

  17. Jim Kennedy

    December 19, 2010 at 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.

  18. Vincent

    December 19, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Your list seems spot on. A very good read.

  19. Pingback: "Whatever" voted most irritating word in poll « NewsPak

  20. Joanne Caradonna

    December 18, 2010 at 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 ) .

  21. Pingback: "Whatever" voted most irritating word in poll | NewsPak

  22. Pingback: More Words We Love To Hate | Laurie Boris

  23. karl

    December 17, 2010 at 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.

  24. Lisa

    December 17, 2010 at 3:38 am

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

  25. Anne

    December 17, 2010 at 2:33 am

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

  26. Roddy

    December 17, 2010 at 12:07 am

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

  27. jan

    December 16, 2010 at 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”.

  28. Jane

    December 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm

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

  29. Rich Leister

    December 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

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

  30. Greg

    December 16, 2010 at 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.

  31. Pingback: 5 Most Annoying Words of 2010 - CBS MoneyWatch.com

  32. Wilum

    December 16, 2010 at 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!

  33. Toni

    December 16, 2010 at 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!’

  34. paul fedewa

    December 16, 2010 at 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!

  35. Terry Nelson

    December 16, 2010 at 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.

  36. Pingback: The Most Annoying Word Of 2010 « MIX 105.1- The Best MIX of the 80s, 90s and Today

  37. Terry Little

    December 16, 2010 at 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”.

  38. Richard Savoy

    December 16, 2010 at 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.

  39. Chris Smith

    December 16, 2010 at 3:30 am

    What a total waste of reseach time – or whatever

  40. Tim Buse

    December 16, 2010 at 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!!!

  41. Skip

    December 16, 2010 at 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.

  42. Katya

    December 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm

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

  43. ThatAustralianChick

    December 15, 2010 at 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.

  44. who cares

    December 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Errr Whatever!

  45. Pingback: End-of-Year Lists? Whatever! |

  46. Bernie

    December 15, 2010 at 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

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  48. Angietihi

    December 14, 2010 at 11:24 pm

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

  49. Starlet

    December 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    OMG! Like, you know, like, whatever!

  50. Barry Pallot

    December 14, 2010 at 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.

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