For the last two years these words have topped the lists for words that, above all else, evoke feelings of frustration and discontent at even a mindless mutter.
They are filler words. I should probably give credit to “actually” and “literally” as well. Though these words have meanings beyond (or in place of) bridging the gap between two poorly formed fragments, many of us rely on the “likes” and “whatevers” of the world to avoid the “ums” and “uhhs” we are supposed to hate—and never use.
Of course there are other reasons why many of us rely on these words so much but I automatically recall a scenario when I was standing in front of a room of people, nervous, and attempting to drag out one sentence’s worth of information across two minutes with a “like” or two.