These are the most 'annoying' slang words, according to Americans

Jerritt Clark/Getty Images‘Bae’ is one of them.
  • A new study ranked the most annoying slang words, as well as those that are most confusing and most popular.
  • Among the most annoying slang words analysed were G.O.A.T., bae, hangry, Gucci, and ghost.
  • Slang is often derived from drag, queer, and black culture before hitting the mainstream.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

As time goes on, the English language continues to evolve and change. New words are added to the dictionary every year, many of which reflect the current lingo. But before a word becomes official and makes it into the dictionary, it often starts off as a slang word. A survey by polling company OnePoll analysed the most popular – and most “annoying” – slang words currently used, according to participants, and among them are terms like “G.O.A.T.” and “Bae.”

It’s important to note that slang words play an integral part in language, especially when it comes to verbal language and on social media. Much of this language originates from smaller, often marginalized communities before hitting the mainstream. Some of the examples below, for instance, are derived from drag and queer culture, while others have origins in communities of colour. Before it hits the mainstream, it’s often used as a way to unite those in marginalized groups.

“It confirms that we’re together and it confirms that you’re not one of us,” Jonathon Green, a scholar in slang language, said in an interview with Time magazine. “Again, a human phenomenon. We want to put our arms around each other, as an element of self-defence.”

Once these words are picked up by a wider audience, they are often used to death, and often are used incorrectly, which may have something to do with peoples’ level of annoyance.

With all that being said, we broke down the top 10 “most annoying” slang terms, according to those polled, and gave examples for “correct use.” We tried to cite origins where we could, but as Green pointed out in Time magazine, language is fluid.


G.O.A.T. means someone is the best.

This one is simply an acronym meaning “The Greatest of All Time.” It is also seen as simple “goat” or the goat emoji.

Example: “Lebron James is the G.O.A.T.”


If someone is your “bae” it means they’re your loved one.

Flickr/Joshua GandersonYour bae is your significant other.

Bae is a word used to describe a romantic partner. It is believed to have started in the rap and hip-hop communities in the early 2000s, though its exact origins are unclear.

Example: “Is bae coming to dinner?”


Being hangry is something everyone has probably experienced.

iStockIt means hungry and angry.

“Hangry” is a mashed-up term of the words “hungry” and “angry,” used to describe that feeling when you’ve reached such a point of hunger that you get a bit cranky.

Example: “I need to stop at the store now, I can feel myself getting hangry.”


Gucci means something is good.

Linda Kallerus, courtesy of A24It was used as a sign-off in the movie ‘Eighth Grade.’

“Gucci” is a word similar to “cool” or “chill.” It’s likely derived from the fashion brand of the same name, thanks to its growing popularity in hip hop and other popular modern culture. It was most recently used as a sign-off in the movie “Eighth Grade.”

Example: “Yeah, I’ve been Gucci, just working a lot.”


To ghost someone is to stop talking to them suddenly.

Pixabay/stocknapYou disappear, like a ghost.

One of the most popular recent dating terms, “ghosting” someone means to suddenly stop talking or interacting with someone, usually someone you were romantically involved with. You simply disappear from their life, like a ghost. It’s also frequently associated with dating apps.

Example: “I matched with that guy but he ghosted me after our first date.”


Fleek is frequently associated with appearance.

South China Morning Post / ContributorIt was popularised by Viner Peaches Monroee.

This is a term meaning that something, usually your appearance, is fresh and aesthetically pleasing. Viner Peaches Monroee made the term explode in popularity in 2014 after her video, in which she referred to her eyebrows as “on fleek” went viral. As many have noted, the term was embraced by the masses, but Monroee did not receive compensation from those who used it and profited off of it.

Example: “I just went to the salon so my nails are on fleek.”


Stussy is another term likely named for a clothing brand.

Matthew Sperzel / ContributorStussy seems to mean a cross between preppy and street style.

“Stussy” is a term that made both the annoying and most confusing list. Definitions vary, but the most popular one seems to be used to describe a mix between street style and preppy style. Its origins are likely with the clothing brand of the same name.

Example: “That bucket hat is Stussy.”


TFW has a few different meanings.

TFW is another abbreviation. It’s a product of meme and internet culture and is often used with an image of someone making a funny face. It can stand for “that face when,” or “that feeling when…”

Example: “TFW your mum tells you that you can’t stop for fast food.”


Throwing shade is a popular term that is often misused.

Garetsworkshop/ShutterstockIt’s usually an indirect insult.

“Throwing shade” is a phrase that may seem new to some, but actually has a rich history in black and Latinx gay communities in ballroom and drag culture.

Though many misunderstand the phrase to mean any insult, shade is usually an indirect insult.

“If I were to say in a terribly condescending voice, ‘Oh honey, I’m so glad you saved up to buy those glasses,’ that’s blatant shade. I didn’t insult the glasses, or you, directly. It’s implied by my voice and the context of what I said. You know they’re ugly,” Business Insider’s Linette Lopez wrote in 2015.

Example: “No shade, but that coat looks cheap.”


SMH rounds out the list with another abbreviation.

HBOIt means disappointment.

SMH is another simple abbreviation that simply means “shaking my head.” It is often used to signal disappointment.

Example: “You’re going out with him again? SMH.”

You can view the entire survey here.

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