When you hear the word “Whatever” what do you think ?
In 2010, the word “whatever’ topped a Marist poll, for the 2nd year running, as the most annoying word or phrase in the English language.
And now, 2012, the same poll has revealed that this same word has, for the FOURTH YEAR running, taken the top spot as the most annoying word of the year.
- 2009 47% http://maristpoll.marist.edu/107-whatever-takes-top-honors-as-most-annoying/
- 2010 39% http://maristpoll.marist.edu/1214-whatever-retains-title-of-most-annoying-word-or-phrase/
- 2011 38% http://maristpoll.marist.edu/1216-whatever-still-most-annoying-word-you-know-like-seriously-just-sayin%E2%80%99/
- 2012 32% http://maristpoll.marist.edu/1227-whatever-still-viewed-as-most-annoying-word-or-phrase-just-sayin/
But, does it always mean what you think it means ?
I hear it with an open mind these days, as some people use it with total innocence, believing it not to have the dismissive intention that it began with.
And the figures are showing that the word is being accepted more each year without as much annoyance. In 2009 almost half 47% of people voted the word down, but 4 years later, in 2012, it is only 32%.
Wikipedia states: [Whatever is a slang term meaning “whatever you say” and “I don’t care what you say”. The term is used to dismiss a previous statement and express indifference and is usually considered offensive and impolite. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, the word became a sentence in its own right; in effect an interjection, it is used as a passive-aggressive conversational blocking tool, leaving the responder without a convincing retort. Anything they do or say can simply be blocked by the retort of “whatever”.]
Many people interpret it as actually saying: “I don’t think what you are saying is relevant”, but not all, but how many realise how it is really meant.
Non native English speakers are at the greatest disadvantage here, as they could use the word innocently, but be thought rude by some.
For their benefit, here are some meanings of the word Whatever:
Whatever can be used in an argument to admit you’re wrong without admitting it.
Whatever can be used to tell someone they’re full of crap without having to explain why.
Whatever can be used to indicate total apathy in a subject.
Whatever can be used to display aggressive behaviour in a passive way.
Whatever can be used to take the place of the F-word, without being completely rude.
If you’re dismissive, you show little consideration for others. If a teacher laughs at a student’s earnest answer to a question, that’s dismissive. An employer throwing a resume in the trash without reading it? Dismissive. People are dismissive to others they think are beneath them. You can also be dismissive to ideas and suggestions. It’s like waving someone or something away and saying, “whatever.”
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