12/16: Whatever, Still Most Annoying Word, You Know. Like, Seriously? Just Sayin’

December 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Living, Odds and Ends, Odds and Ends Polls

It’s that time of the year, again!  It’s time for The Marist Poll to reveal the word or phrase considered to be the most annoying in casual conversation.  And, for the third consecutive year, “whatever” receives the dubious honor.  Nearly four in ten adults nationally — 38% — say “whatever” grates on their nerves the most.  “Like” one in five — 20% — say that verbal filler is the most irritating while 19% despise “you know.”  “Just sayin’” gets on the nerves of 11% of the population compared with 7% who report “seriously” should be banned from casual conversation.  Five percent are unsure.

whatever in letterpress type


Click Here for Complete December 16, 2011 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

Last year, 39% told the Marist Poll “whatever” is the most bothersome word in casual conversation while 28% thought “like” was the epitome of irritating.  At that time, the list also included “you know what I mean” — 15% — “to tell you the truth” — 10% — and “actually” — 5%.  Three percent were unsure.

Table: Most Annoying Conversational Word or Phrase

Marist Poll Methodology


29 Responses to “12/16: Whatever, Still Most Annoying Word, You Know. Like, Seriously? Just Sayin’”

  1. Tom on December 16th, 2011 4:16 pm

    The word “actually” is the most annoying word that is waaaay overused!!!

  2. suhas on December 19th, 2011 1:51 am

    “Whatever” really sounds annoying !! Several of my friends use this word frequently & it really puts me off !! suhas katti

  3. John on December 19th, 2011 10:55 am

    Yups – that’s the word I find on most sites by most people where comments are allowed!
    Indeed it is the most frequently used word on the net and in real life.

  4. Charles-Henri on December 19th, 2011 12:35 pm

    I am happy to find out that I am not alone. When I talk to my teenagers and when they cannot reply back they will often reply back by saying “whatever” in a nonchalant way. It really get my blood boiling.

    The other work that I find ignorant is ” What’s up”

    I could go on but I don’t think it would be proper.

    Thank you

  5. Jan Hicks on December 19th, 2011 1:18 pm




  6. Michael Lassell on December 19th, 2011 2:56 pm


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  8. carrie on December 20th, 2011 7:54 pm

    I got a slap in the face in the 60′s for saying”you know what I mean” every other word. MOm just salpped my face or was it my brothers?

  9. Janice McLellan on December 20th, 2011 7:59 pm

    I hate, hate, hate this one:

    “Am I making sense?”

    I always respond: “No, you are not making a bit of sense.” Just to see what they will say. Ha.

  10. Judy on December 20th, 2011 11:23 pm

    “…..if you will.” and “at the end of the day.”

  11. Jim Wiggin on December 21st, 2011 4:49 pm

    Seriously, choosing the most annoying out of a pre-selected list of, like, 5, is, you know, not exactly scientific, just sayin’. Some of them seem dated, last year’s (or decade’s) model.

    An oldie but goodie is, “To tell the truth …” as if you could assume the speaker is lying without that assurance.

    My nomination, which nearly every TV talking head and everybody enlisted for fake TV interviews over the past year or two uses: Absolutely. I’ve heard interviewees use it several times in a 30-second piece. The most annoying thing? The answer to the question is usually far from absolute. Whatever.

  12. HappyJames on December 21st, 2011 9:57 pm

    Twenty four seven should be at the top actually if you know what I mean. Whatever…

  13. Brian on December 22nd, 2011 9:41 am

    “ya know” at every pause gets on my nerves.

  14. Blessed Geek on December 25th, 2011 12:08 am

    “Like” is the most annoying word. “Like”, similar to the MF word, originated from pidgin English speakers across the Pacific ocean into LA and Toronto.

    MF, though linguists have yet to acknowledge, originated as a medieval cantonese and other southern chinese swear phrase under a few variations. Through trade and migration, these phrases started moving southwards into Southeast-Asia. In the 70s, triad members and shopkeepers then started to interact with black gang members using these various crude southern chinese expressions. From that point, the black gangs disseminated the now world famous MF phrases.

    Similarly, “like”, “so” and the infamous southern California accent that aging soccer moms try to emulate to sound like teenagers, originated from across the Pacific.

    Since the 60′s you could hear phrases like “why you so like that?”, “like what”, “she is so a bit**” and various MF variations could be heard from pidgin speakers in India, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. “So” and “like” were used because the pidgin English speakers were trying to transliterate their native tongue’s emphasis words into English.

    The infamous southern California teenage accent betrays significant borrowing from Thai accentuation. Many US kids growing up in the 80s got very attracted to the sing-songy way their Thai classmate girls spoke and evolved a new accent. Not that the accent is annoying, but that middle-aged soccer moms and over-the-hill actresses try to emulate it is extremely annoying.

  15. don on December 25th, 2011 9:41 pm

    Kardashian is the most annoying word I ever heard.

  16. Michael on December 28th, 2011 6:07 pm

    “that’s what’s up” makes me violent.

  17. Sally on December 30th, 2011 12:00 pm

    The most annoying word for 2011 should be “So,”…

    Everyone and their mother are starting sentences with the word “So,”.
    It drives me CRAZY! Augh! Please people, stop using the word “So” to begin a sentence, especially after being asked a simple question. I think it makes people feel like they are sounding authoritative or somehow smarter, almost as if they are beginning a lecture and the person they are talking with are not very intelligent. Well, we’re on to you.
    Ha ha! Can you tell that’s my pet peeve???
    ; p

  18. Gary McGowan on January 1st, 2012 4:11 am

    64% of those polled were over 47 years old…. Old people shouldn’t be counted, they are almost dead. LMAO

  19. Piotr Apows on January 3rd, 2012 4:11 am

    The most irritates me the word YES he he
    Yours Apows

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  21. Maggie on February 15th, 2012 7:35 pm

    People have to stop saying “literally”. Most use it incorrectly and they sound dopey.

    “the fact of the matter is”
    Empty modifiers such as extremely, amazing, awesome, incredible, great, fantastic…you get the idea. People seem to be too lazy to come up with a rich, precise adjective.

  22. Jeff Hook on March 5th, 2012 9:48 am

    I wonder if you folks have noticed the tendency to begin sentences with the incongruous adverb “so.” This seems most often to be seen in answers to questions or in explanations. This appears to be a California trend. I assume it’s an affectation by people who wish to be seen as “brilliant Silicon Valley” types who function at such a great intellectual elevation that they can’t be bothered by the conventions of normal syntax. Growing legions of imbeciles are adopting this “verbal tick.” This use of “so” may soon “sweep the nation”…

  23. Minneapolis Campaign on March 29th, 2012 2:36 pm

    I am starting a campaign to eliminate the word “actually” from conversation. Talking heads, TV anchors, politicians, journalists, and regular people on the street are using the word way too much. It’s superfluous in most cases. I find it the most annoying word of 2012. It seems its use keeps increasing! If someone has the talent, will you please create a website (and let me know) to kick off the campaign to eliminate the word “actually” from dialogue? I gave up the use of the word for lent, as did some friends. It is amazing how many times and in varied places we hear it!

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  25. Words to Avoid (Unless You Want to Annoy Your Coworkers) - CareerBliss on October 24th, 2012 5:44 pm

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  26. jns on December 4th, 2012 4:55 pm

    Well, Gary McGowan, soon enough..you’ll be old…clocks ticking.

  27. Wes on December 28th, 2012 10:18 am

    Unique! Something either is or it isn’t. There’s no such thing as ‘very’ unique or ‘most’ unique. There can be truely, absolutely, or even almost unique. But nothing is very unique. Sports broadcasters are the worst at this.

  28. Erik on May 10th, 2013 6:29 pm

    When the rubber hits the road, and all is said and done, believe you me, all this talk will absolutely, literally be like…whatever. Just sayin’.

  29. Dan on December 19th, 2013 9:15 pm

    Another vote to ban “literally” from spoken English.

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