Whatever (slang)

Whatever is a slang term meaning "whatever you say" , "I don't care what you say" or "what will be will be". The term is used either to dismiss a previous statement and express indifference or in affirmation of a previous statement as "whatever will be will be".[1] An interjection of "whatever" can be considered offensive and impolite or it can be considered affirming. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, the word became a sentence in its own right; in effect an interjection, often but not always, used as a passive-aggressive conversational blocking tool, leaving the responder without a convincing retort.[2]


Early examples of current usage include a 1965 episode of Bewitched in which the character Endora exclaims "Alright, whatever" to her daughter, lead character Samantha Stephens, and also the much maligned 1965 sitcom My Mother the Car, in which "whatever" was the standard retort used by Captain Manzini (Avery Schreiber) whenever he would mispronounce "Crabtree" (Jerry Van Dyke), the car's owner (son).[3]


A shorter version, "Evs", made it into American pop consciousness when used by Australian rocker Toby Rand on the American reality television series Rock Star: Supernova.[4]

Cultural impactEdit

In Marist College polls of 2009 and 2010, whatever was voted as the phrase that is "the most annoying word in conversation."[5][6] The English translation of Michel Houellebecq's 1994 novel Extension du domaine de la lutte, which describes the chronically disaffected life[7] of a computer programmer, was titled Whatever for its publication in the United States.


  1. ^ Michael McKenna (2012-11-04), Doris Day - Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) (w Children's Chorus) - 1964 version, retrieved 2016-04-13
  2. ^ "Definition of SEMANTICS". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  3. ^ Internet Movie Database. "Character Quotes: Endora (see Episode 2.1, 'Alias Darrin Stevens')". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  4. ^ Interview with Toby Rand (Juke Kartel) Hot Indie News.com
  5. ^ Michael Hill (October 7, 2009). "'Whatever' so totally tops most annoying word poll". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-10-07.[dead link]
  6. ^ Bernard Orr; Patricia Reaney (2010-12-15). "'Whatever' voted most irritating word in poll". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  7. ^ "Publisher Comments" at Powell's Books

External linksEdit