- “Whatever” was voted the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation.
- Other options included “literally,” “you know what I mean,” and “fake news.”
- Older people found “whatever” more annoying than younger people.
For the ninth consecutive year, “whatever” has been voted the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation, according to a Marist College poll released on Monday.
“Whatever” was considered the most annoying by 33% of respondents, the poll found. The second-place finisher was “fake news” at 23%, closely followed by “no offence, but” with 20%.
Rounding out the top five were “literally” and “you know what I mean,” at 11% and 10%, respectively.
Despite the apparent consensus around “whatever,” the word actually seems to be gaining acceptability among English speakers. According to Marist, only 28% of respondents under the age of 45 voted for “whatever,” while it was the choice of 40% of respondents over 45.
“It has been more than 20 years since ‘whatever’ first gained infamy in the movie Clueless,” Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said in a statement. “While the word irks older Americans, those who are younger might not find ‘whatever’ to be so annoying.”
And the stranglehold of “whatever” may be loosening. Its margin of victory was smaller than last year’s, when 38% of people chose it as the most annoying phrase over options like “Ya know, right,” “I can’t even,” and “huge.”
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