The Most Annoying Word In The English Language Is "Whatever."


How does that word make you feel? As words go, it's not a particularly well-loved one. For eight consecutive years, "whatever" has been voted the most annoying word in the English language.

Seriously, Whatever.

The most exciting day for American English comes but only once a year... the day when the New Marist Institute of Public Opinion releases their poll results for that year's most annoying phrases. In case you're dying to know, the word "whatever" ranked as the most annoying phrase used in casual conversation. And this "Clueless"-associated word has held its less-than-coveted number one spot for the past eight years, from 2008 to 2016. (2017's list isn't out just yet.) But what is it about "whatever" that really drives Americans bananas?

2016 Marist Poll Results

Here's Why We "Just Can't Even"

Since 38 percent of the 1,005 people polled were most annoyed by the word "whatever," it's worth exploring. The Oxford Dictionary includes this informal definition: "Said as a response indicating a reluctance to discuss something, often implying indifference." It's the indifference bit that really grinds peoples' gears.

According to the poll results, African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be annoyed by "whatever" at 57 percent and 42 percent, respectively. It also bothers older generations more: Half of Americans 45 years of age or older found "whatever" to be the most annoying word, while only 27 percent of younger Americans are bothered by it. The most annoying phrase for Americans aged 30 and younger was actually "I can't even," at 33 percent. The Marist Poll notes that 'whatever' may be "losing some steam."

Which other phrases annoyed the heck out of Americans in 2016? Drumroll, please...

  • Whatever: 38%
  • No offense, but: 20%
  • You know, right?: 14%
  • I can't even: 14%
  • Huge: 8%
  • Unsure: 5%

There's still time for a new word to take the top spot this year, so let's all pull together to crown the list with something even more irritating.

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About Words

America's Most Annoying Phrases Of 2016


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The One Universal Word

"Huh" shares a common meaning of confusion in most languages across the globe.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The word "huh" is found in languages all over the world. 00:47

  2. Though people have tried to create them, no universal language has ever been adopted. 01:17

  3. The word "okay" is understood in most places worldwide. 02:00

Written By Curiosity Staff January 7, 2017