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Published: Thursday, 10/15/2009

Don't know, don't care

WHATEVER.

It is, as one writer observed, "the motto du jour."

The most popular slacker term of indifference out there has earned itself a rightful place of distinction among irritating phrases buffeting the planet.

A new Marist College poll puts "whatever" at the top of its most annoying words list. It is what it is, you know? Actually, those enduring phrases also earned considerable scorn nationally with 25 percent of respondents saying they couldn't tolerate "you know," while "it is what it is" irked 11 percent of those surveyed.

But even though some Americans said they were fed up with "at the end of the day" and others wanted to ban "anyway" from all conversations, the term that creamed the competition in annoyance was "whatever" with a 47 percent rejection rate. Described as "a kick to the groin of nonimportance" it is truly an expression with staying power.

Curiously, the all-purpose argument-ender is disliked the most in the Midwest with 55 percent totally against it as opposed to only 35 percent in the Northeast. Why the word grates so consistently above other obnoxious contenders is unclear, but language experts suggest its negative connotation and dismissive quality might be one reason.

Like, whatever, dude.



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