Most Annoying Words in 2019

Marist National Poll

For more than a decade, whatever has taken the top spot as the most annoying word or phrase used in conversation. 34% of Americans this year have this view. One in five U.S. residents (20%) say no offense, but is the most irritating word or phrase followed by a new addition to the list, dude, with 16%. 14% of Americans say literally is the most bothersome. Another newcomer, please wait, I’ll be right with you, receives 9%. Six percent of Americans are unsure.

In last year’s survey, whatever received 36% followed by no offense, but with 22% and you know what I mean with 15%. 14% cited literally, and 6% mentioned actually. Seven percent were unsure.

Whatever has longevity and long-standing roots in pop culture, thanks to the 1995 movie Clueless,” says Mary Griffith, Director of Media Initiatives and Polling News at The Marist Poll. “So, it makes sense that the often dismissive whatever resonates more so with older Americans than younger ones.”

Whatever (31%) edges out no offense, but (27%) among the under 45 crowd while more than one in three Americans age 45 or older (36%) say whatever most annoys them. This is down from 44% last year. 22% of those 45 or older say dude gets on their nerves.

Regardless of gender, whatever is considered to be the most annoying word or phrase of men (37%) and women (31%).

Complete December 27, 2019 Marist Poll Release of the United States

Complete December 27, 2019 Marist Poll of the United States (Tables of Adults)

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample