liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

The Most Annoying Word

It is a rich era for manglish...

WHATEVER. For the 3rd year in a row, this conversation killer tops the US survey. In 2009 47% of those surveyed picked it from a lineup, but in 2011 only 39% found it most annoying. Perhaps because the surveyors picked a different set of competing obnoxious words. The youth (18-29) dislike "like" more, but at age 30-44, 37% choose "whatever", and at age 45-59, 46% agree. That's my age group and I concur. Over 60 we're back down to 40%.

So what makes "whatever" so irritating? I mean, aside from its overuse, especially among disenchanted youth? It sounds arrogant. Dismissive. Disrespectful. It is used to change the subject when a person is disinterested. Translation: I'd rather talk about me. It is also used to indicate a lack of buy in regarding a decision. Translation: That was a stupid choice. The common thread in these variations is I don't care: don't care to hear, don't care about you, don't care what you think, don't care what you are doing to do. It's not nice to hear.

Of course, just as age matters, your locale also matters to your language preferences. "Whatever" made the most irritating list in Ireland, too. In Australia the top annoyer in 2010 was "moving forward". Oxford University researchers pinpointed ten most annoying phrases for 2012, and leading their list was "at the end of the day".

In the UK employers now ask their employees to engage in "thought showers" instead of brainstorming, in an effort to be PC for epileptics. What color is a thought shower?


This writer makes the point that on the internet there's a whole OTHER set of annoying words and sayings:

Oxford U's top ten most irritating phrases:
1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It's a nightmare
8 - Shouldn't of
9 - 24/7
10 - It's not rocket science

The Irish Top 20
“You know that kind of way…”
“At the end of the day”
“Kicking the can down the road”
"People saying dotcom after things, ie, “Oh – I was out last night and now it’s” or “” or “It’s”
The constant abuse of the word ‘literally’
‘Whatever’—also voted most annoying phrase of all in America.
"Credit Rating"
“Adding ‘out’ to the end of anything, e.g. happy out, crazy out. It makes no sense as well as being irritating.” (From Super Kario)
"Going forward"
"Burn… Bondholders"
“With all due respect…” (“I really think you’re an a**hole.”)
“As it were…” (As what was exactly?)
Adding “Boom!” to the end of a sentence annoyed Laura Murray
“Just bear with me”
“European partners”
“We are where we are”
“We have turned the corner”

The 26 0r 27 Most Annoying Phrases of All Time
by Beth Mann at
(Said only to women. What do I look like, your personal wind-up doll?)
Chill Out.
(Surefire way to make me want to bite someone's face off.)
(Frat boys invented this and it needs to die a fiery death.)
It’s all good.
(It's not. It's clearly not.)
Everything happens for a reason.
(Oh, shew. And here I thought it was unadulterated chaos.)
Don’t go there.
(Don't tell me what to do.)
Let's touch base.
(I still say this. But I cut myself when I do.)
(Hanging around a bunch of surfers, I hear it constantly. Not your dude. Heard one surfer call his own mother a dude.)
You can’t (fill in the blank)!
(Said by people with teeny amounts of authority. "You can't sit there." Oh yes, I can. I might not be allowed. But I can. I can do anything I want. Watch!)
Could you not (fill in the blank)?
(Generally said by haughty, passive aggressive women.)
No offense but…
(No doubt an offense will directly follow.)
(Just like "rock and roll", if you have to say it is, then it isn't so.)
You rock!
(Refer to above.)
Sorry but (fill in the blank)
(Sorry will NEVER go with BUT! Never! One or the other, man, one or the other.)
I’m not going to lie...
(Oh well, bully for you. Guess its my effin' lucky day.)
Um, can we talk?
(Cringing just typing that one out.)
Wait till your father gets home.
(My mother used this on me and it pretty much prematurely aged me a full decade.)
It is what it is.
(Really? Wow, deep.)
Just kiddding!
(Said in creepy, sing-songy way. Reply in same manner: "No you're not cuz it's not funny!")
So what do you do?
(Always annoying when its the first thing out of someone's mouth upon meeting. I like to answer with "Wet myself. Like now.")
"You know what you should do?"
("Oh, PRAY tell! My very survival is dependent on it, I'm sure." Andy and I particularly hate this one.)
Well, that's different.
(As in "Well I guess your gonna think for yourself instead of following my path of mediocrity.")
To be honest....
(Usually followed by a blatant lie or a REALLY inconsequential personal factoid. "To be honest, I'd never wear a pair of red shoes at all, no matter what season it is.")

OK, so let me think about my own personal language buttons.
Caveat: this is just a rough draft and I will think on it some more.
1. Whatever
2. Do you want to ___ for me. (when it's actually someone telling you to do something)
3. Smile (I agree with Beth Mann)
4. Literally/Essentially/Extensively/Absolutely and more. (adverb abuse)
5. How are you? (when they don't give a shit)
6. You look tired. (thanks a lot)
Tags: adolescence, america, australia, britain, buttons, communication, epilepsy, language, vocabulary, words

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