Marist Poll: Americans Say ‘Whatever’ Is Most Annoying Word in Conversation

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A Marist Poll released Tuesday found that most Americans think “whatever” is the most annoying English word or phrase used in conversation.

According to the poll, 33 percent of Americans thought “whatever” is the most annoying word in the English language for the ninth year in a row.

But a word that one age group may find annoying, another group may not consider that irksome. Forty percent of American adults 45 and older thought “whatever” is the most annoying word in casual conversation, while only 26 percent of Americans under 45 thought the same way.

“Since 2015, we have seen a narrowing between ‘whatever’ and the rest of the list,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “It has been more than 20 years since ‘whatever’ first gained infamy in the movie Clueless. While the word irks older Americans, those who are younger might not find ‘whatever’ to be so annoying.”

Here is the full list of words and phrases Americans found annoying in the poll, ranked from most annoying to the least:

  1. Whatever — 33 percent
  2. Fake news — 23 percent
  3. No offense, but — 20 percent
  4. Literally — 11 percent
  5. You know what I mean — 10 percent

The phrase “fake news” may be listed as the second most annoying word/phrase of 2016, but one British dictionary designated the phrase as its “Word of the Year” for 2017.

Merriam-Webster, an American dictionary, named “feminism” as its “Word of the Year” for 2017.


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