The 5 most annoying words—and words to use instead

Two colleges recently weighed in on the words worth leaving behind (and the ones worth learning) this year.

Marist College's Marist Poll recently surveyed 1,074 adults on the words they find most annoying. For the ninth consecutive year, "whatever" snagged the top spot as the most annoying word used in casual conversation, according to the poll.

Although "whatever" retains its title as most annoying word, the term has won by a smaller margin than years prior, says Lee Miringoff, the director for the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion. Respondents under the age of 45 rated the phrase "whatever" as less annoying than their older counterparts, the survey found.

Here are the most annoying words of 2017, according to the Marist Poll:

1. Whatever;
2. Fake news;
3. No offense;
4. Literally; and
5. You know what I mean.

Also see: The most annoying office jargon—and education jargon

And while you consider which words to drop from your speech, Wayne State University (WSU) offers a few words worth introducing into your vocabulary. WSU's Word Warriors program resurfaces underused words that "deserve a place in 2018," writes Michigan Radio's Stateside staff.

In a recent conversation with Michigan Radio, Jerry Herron, a dean at and member of the Word Warriors editorial board, explains that great words make the world "more vivid, present, and... accurate."

But the English language is so vast and rich that it's inevitable that great words will fall out of everyday use, says Herron. You don't have to be a linguistics expert to contribute to the cause. The program relies on the public to submit new words, the stateside staff writes.

Here are the top 10 words deserving wider use in 2018, according to the Word Warriors:

  1. Insuperable;
  2. Eucatastrophe;
  3. Frangible;
  4. Couth;
  5. Compunction;
  6. Recondite;
  7. Nugatory;
  8. Bilious;
  9. Littoral; and
  10. Picaresque.

(Stateside staff, Michigan Radio, 1/8; Word Warriors website, accessed 1/8; Marist Poll release, accessed 1/8).

Related: Bill Gates names his 5 favorite books of 2017


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