By Mary Morel

The word ‘whatever’ has acquired an attitude. It’s the word teenagers mutter deadpan or with sighs and rolled eyes.

It was the word spoken by a concierge in a US hotel that caused Russell Crowe to snap and throw the phone at him.

The fifth edition of the Collins Australian Dictionary added a new meaning for ‘whatever’: ‘informal – an expression used to show indifference or dismissal’.

In The Evasion English Dictionary, New York poet Maggie Balistreri defines 11 uses of ‘whatever’:

  • Apathetic whatever (Yeah so? Oh, I’m immature? Whatever.)
  • Pseudo-impartial whatever (Who am I to judge? She’s dating the boss. Whatever.)
  • Self-pitying whatever (Never mind I did all the work but whatever.)
  • Slow-thaw whatever (Him: I’m sorry. Let’s have dinner. Her: Whatever.)
  • Emotion-kibosh whatever (Dad, whatever, it’s just a tattoo.)
  • Evasion-evader whatever (So now she’s mad at me. Whatever.)
  • Jealous whatever (His uncle got him the job but whatever.)
  • Minced-oath whatever (Her: This kitchen is a pit. Him: Whatever.)
  • Faltering cliché whatever (That way you can get closure or whatever.)
  • Bashful whatever (I just feel such total love or whatever.)
  • Doubting Thomas whatever (He said he lost my phone number and I’m, like, whatever.)

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