August 4, 2014
The Most Annoying Word Of 2013 Is ...

The most annoying word of 2013 in casual conversation is "whatever" according to the Marist College annual poll.

"Whatever" has now grabbed top honors (38 percent of those surveyed) for the fifth consecutive year. The staying power of "whatever" could be because it seems like a very dismissive if not rude way to end a discussion. "Whatever" may have entered the popular culture after the 1995 comedy film Clueless.

The runner-up in the national landline and cell phone poll of about 1,000 American adults conducted in early December was "like" (22 percent), followed by "you know" (18 percent), "just saying" (14 percent) and "obviously" (6 percent). Two percent couldn't make up their minds about what word they despised the most that pops up in conversation.

Other annoying/overused words that may come to your mind include "absolutely" (instead of just saying "yes"), "amazing," "basically," "honestly" and perhaps "awesome."

Looking ahead to 2014, Americans would like to see the word "Obamacare" disappear the most.

While on the subject of annoying conversational techniques, it seems like a good time to renew a call for a ban on "uptalk" (officially known to linguists as "high rising terminal"). This is the very annoying tendency for a speaker to end a declarative sentence as if it is a question. In other words, finishing a statement with an imaginary question mark. This way of talking apparently started with the "Valley Girls," but has spread across the country and all demographic groups like a virus.

Broadening the discussion to annoying and or overused phrases, do any of these that have entered the everyday lexicon get on your nerves?

  • "to be honest with you"
  • "no problem" (instead of "you're welcome")
  • "throwing [someone] under the bus"
  • "It is what it is"
  • "step up your/my game"
  • "I mean" [used at beginning of sentence]
  • "at the end of the day"
  • "singing Kumbaya"
What annoying words or phrases "grind your gears" the most?