The data is in and we now know the most annoying word in America.
Not only that, we know that the same word has earned this honor for the past FIVE YEARS.
Thirty-eight percent of Americans find “whatever” to be the most annoying exclamation, leaving “like,” “you know,” and “just seein’” to duke it out for second, third, and fourth place. While “whatever” has won the honor in previous years, there was a marked increase in the percentage of people who found the word abrasive: last year, 32% despised it, 6 percentage points less than this year.
The word’s journey from simple pronoun to reviled interjection can be traced through popular TV, radio, and films. Some even credit the first usage of “whatever” as a passive aggressive interjection to Endora from Bewitched. In a 1965 episode, the character says “alright, whatever” to the protagonist, Samantha Stevens, in an attempt to coyly stop her from speaking. The movie Clueless, however, made the word iconic, associating it forever with Valley Girls style and even giving it its own hand gesture.
While we could all benefit from reducing our use of words like “like” and “whatever,” other irritating neologisms will inevitably pop up in their place. So let’s enjoy our valley girl moments and wait for the time when “disconnect” stops being a self-standing word all together.