‘Fake News’ Gains on ‘Whatever’ as Most Annoying Phrase

(CN) – Americans are divided on almost everything, but they agree on one thing: the word “whatever” tops the list of most annoying words or phrases used in casual conversation, according to a Marist poll released Monday.

The dismissive use of the word agitates 33 percent of all respondents. Other annoying words and phrases include “fake news” at 23 percent and “no offense, but” at 20 percent.

This is the ninth consecutive year the word “whatever” has taken the top spot, according to Marist. And Democrats and Republicans stand together in their dislike of it.

Although the word has been voted the most annoying for nearly a decade, other words and phrases grate on peoples’ nerves, according to Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

“Since 2015, we have seen a narrowing between ‘whatever’ and the rest of the list,” Miringoff said. “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.”

The indifferent use of the word, largely to mean “I don’t care,” was originally used in the 14th century as an adjective to mean all encompassing, such as “whatsoever.” The more modern interpretation, often perceived as rude, may have been handed down from the late 19th century when it was used as “whatever may be the cause, at any event.”

Thanks to the 2016 presidential elections, the term “fake news” made its debut at second place.

Classic annoyances still showing up on the list include “literally.” Often used to denote something that happens figuratively, the word remains misused, much to the chagrin of 11 percent of Americans who find it annoying.

The phone survey of 1,074 people was conducted in November.


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