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12/19: Whatever! Still Oh SO Annoying


12/19: Whatever! Still Oh SO Annoying

For the fifth straight year, Americans consider “whatever” to be the most annoying word or phrase in conversation today.  38% find “whatever” to be the most irritating while 22% report “like” gets on their nerves the most.  “You know” irks 18% of Americans while 14% want to see “just sayin’” stricken from casual conversation.  Six percent detest “obviously,” and 2% are unsure.

Click Here for Complete December 19, 2013 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

There has been an increase in the proportion of residents who consider “whatever” to be the most annoying word.  In last year’s survey, 32% thought “whatever” was the most abrasive.  21% said “like” was most irritating while 17% thought “you know” was an unnecessary choice of words.  “Just sayin’” bothered 10% of Americans the most while “Twitterverse” — 9% — and “gotcha” — 5% — rounded out the list.  Five percent were unsure.

Table: Most Annoying Conversational Word or Phrase

“Obamacare” Taboo Term for 2014 

Looking ahead to 2014, which political word or phrase would Americans like to eliminate from the discussion?  More than four in ten — 41% — do not want to hear “Obamacare.”  There is also a strong aversion to Washington’s budget speak.  30% would prefer not to hear “shutdown” while 11% would like “gridlock” left out of the vernacular.  One in ten — 10% — does not want to hear “fiscal cliff” while 4% feel the same about “sequestration.”  Four percent are unsure.  Not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans have a different take on what they don’t want to hear in 2014.  59% of Republicans have had it with “Obamacare,” while 45% of Democrats cringe at the sound of “shutdown.”

Table: Political Term Least Want to Hear in 2014


How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample




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  5. gary

    January 6, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I have to add a phrase that grates on my sensibilities.

    “No problem”
    When Customer Service people say it, I want to reply, “well I hope it isn’t, since it’s your friggin job”.

    And I concur with this one:

    “You guys”. I have heard it used countless times in business. People giving webinars or on conference calls. They sound ignorant, uneducated and unprepared, and women seem to use it more often in these situations.

    I once went to lunch with my 80 plus year old mother and aunt, and the waitress said, Hi guys”. Really? Grow up!

  6. Brenda

    December 24, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    My word(s) are “You Guys”, which is extremely slang. I hear it weekly in class and at church. It should never be used when addressing a group of women and men together. “You guys can sit down now”…””How are “you guys” doing?”” Men please take note, women do not like this phrase.

  7. Jean SmilingCoyote

    December 23, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    The problem I have with many of these words is that the list is out-of-date. E.g. “Whatever” has been in use for decades. It’s always been a way for the person to evade a question while seeming “agreeable.” The words that annoy me most now are very popular; most of the guilty people don’t get it.
    1. Absolutely – synonym for YES!. It’s an adjective.
    2. Issue – as a synonym for “problem.” It’s OK as a euphemism only when needed for delicate diplomacy. One reporter told of a trip on slippery roads which was completed “without issue.” Normally, “without issue” means “without children” (said after the person died).
    3. “Sure, …” – interviewee answers a reporter’s question without meaning “yes.” It wasn’t even a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.
    4. “Right …” – interviewee means ‘that’s a very good question’ before answering it. “Right” is supposed to be a synonym for “yes.”
    5. “So, …” – interviewee begins a sentence with this word, not as a synonym for “therefore.” In the old days, the response would start with “Well, …” to fill dead air.
    6. “impact” (verb, transtive) – used instead of the transitive verb “affect.” It’s fine if we’re talking about a meteorite hitting your house. Most reporters nowadays don’t even have “affect” (v.t.) in their vocabulary any more.
    7. “Sinkhole” used by reporters as a hype term for every cave-in, even if it’s not in a place that can get sinkholes.

  8. Michael M.

    December 23, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    The word that seems to be an excuse for anything impressive that you cannot describe: AWESOME. Cannot believe just how many people use it as a substitute for a sentence of appreciation!!

  9. Warren Farraway

    December 23, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    I’ve been hating for ages when listening to interviews; people can’t simply answer “yes” to a question. It is always ” ABSOLUTELY”. Just lately, to emphasise their point, it is ” ABSOLUTELY ABSOLUTELY !!!”. Grrrr!!

  10. meg lamb

    December 23, 2013 at 2:05 AM


  11. Jim Rush

    December 23, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Most annoying word – No Problem

  12. Don Flanagan

    December 23, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Yes so annoying. I also hate “for” being incorrectly used . ie: “how long are you staying for?” instead of “How long are you staying”? Why add “for”.?

  13. abby kendall

    December 22, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    ” fall pregnant “, how stupid is that ? the word is ” conceive ”

    ” heavily pregant “, ??? how about ” late stage pregancy “

  14. william bowen

    December 21, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    annoying words — did I miss?

    “no problem” — offends ‘you’re welcome’.

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  16. Storm Saxon's Gall Bladder

    December 21, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    I am literally burning with fires of hate that this list literally left my least favorite word literally off their list.

  17. Ron

    December 20, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Where is the complete list of words and ranking?

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  19. John David Galt

    December 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    I’d like to vote for several candidates: “like”, “you know”, and a big one that should have been included — “um”.

    The point is that I’ve had it with waiting for people who stutter and stammer. It ought to be considered a basic rule of politeness that you have decided what you’re going to say *before* you attempt to get the floor and begin speaking.

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