December 19, 2017
"Whatever" is still the most irritating linguistic choice in the United States. That is unless you're a liberal.
Marist College released the results of its annual most annoying word or phrase poll on Monday. For the ninth consecutive year, "whatever" took the irritating title, with 33 percent of respondents picking the dismissive slang term.
Taking second-place was newcomer "fake news" (23 percent). After that it was "no offense, but" (20 percent), "literally" (11 percent) and “you know what I mean” (10 percent).
Those rankings weren't in the same order when the poll takers considered respondents' political affiliations.
Among those who considered themselves liberal or very liberal, the most annoying term was "fake news," with 30 percent picking the phrase that's become a staple of the national discourse.
It's an unsurprising choice for the left, considering President Donald Trump's penchant for using "fake news" to describe media coverage of his administration that he doesn't like.
Only 15 percent of those who described themselves as conservative or very conservative picked "fake news." For moderates, "whatever" was still the top choice at 35 percent, with "fake news" coming in second at 28 percent.
Millennials also had different picks for annoying words or phrases than their older counterparts. While "whatever" was the most irritating for every group 37 and older, the top pick for those ages 18-36 was "no offense, but" at 29 percent.
The poll was conducted from Nov. 6-9, with surveyors interviewing 1,074 adults by landline or telephone. You can view the full results here.