“Whatever” Maintains Title of Most Annoying Word or Phrase

However, younger Marist poll respondents are less bothered by this word than older respondents.

For the ninth consecutive year, Americans say “whatever” is the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation, according to the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.


One-third (33%) of Americans consider “whatever” to be the most annoying word or phrase. The recent addition of “fake news” takes second place with 23% followed closely by “no offense, but” with 20%. Eleven percent think “literally” is the most grating word used in conversation, while 10% assert “you know what I mean” is the most agitating.  


Opinions differ based on age, the poll finds. Forty percent of U.S. residents ages 45 and older believe “whatever” is the most annoying spoken word, while 28% of Americans younger than 45 say “no offense, but” is the most bothersome. Among those younger than 45, 26% consider “whatever” to be the most grating word or phrase used in casual conversation.


By comparison, in 2016, “whatever” was considered most annoying by 38% of poll takers, and 20% chose “no offense, but.” “Ya know, right” and “I can’t even” each garnered 14%. Eight percent of Americans deemed “huge” to be the most irritating word or phrase spoken in casual conversation in 2016.