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October 9, 2009

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The most hated word in the US? Whatever

IF you want to be a great conversationalist, whatever you do don't use the word "whatever."

It topped an American survey as the most annoying word.

The Marist telephone poll of 938 adults revealed it was more grating to many people than "anyway" and less tolerable than phrases such as "it is what it is" and "you know."

"The impetus of this poll was a casual conversation where we started discussing those words that get on your nerves. You hear them over and over again," explained Mary Azzoli, director of media for Marist.

Nearly 50 percent of people questioned said "whatever" was the word that bothered them the most. It was the most irritating word in all regions of the country, and among all age groups, educational levels and income brackets.

"It is used so often in terms of casual conversation. Also, when you think of the meaning behind it, it is often a way to dismiss someone. It is irritating in that regard. It is much more off-putting compared to any of the other statements we asked," Azzoli added.

A quarter of people selected "you know" as the phrase they would most like to ban from the English language. Eleven percent could not tolerate "it is what it is," while 7 percent found "anyway" irksome.

And at the end of the day, "at the end of the day" came in a distant last with 2 percent of the vote.



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