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Suppose that two people are talking about an event to which they participated together, and one of them says something not exact; the other person makes him notice that, but he thinks to be correct. At the end, the other person convinces him, who replies with "whatever."

Is replying with just "whatever" considered a rude way of answering to a person?

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Yes, it's rude. "Whatever" expresses indifference; often, expressing indifference is dismissive, and in this case, it's dismissive of what the other person has to say. Semantically, it's equivalent to responding with "I don't care".

Being dismissive is what makes it rude. Since "whatever" can express indifference without being dismissive, it's not rude in all situations. If a friend asked me what I wanted to eat, and I replied "whatever" in a non-sarcastic tone of voice, it probably wouldn't be taken as rude. Rather, it would express that I had no particular opinion and that I'd eat whatever they wanted to eat.

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  • +1 for the first paragraph and the first sentence of the second. But I think the rest is a bit irrelevant/potentially confusing, since it seems to me it's predicated on the fact that your friend probably wouldn't interpret anything you said as being rude. I could often call one of my friends a "stupid c*nt" without expecting him to take offence (but probably not if she were female, I grant you! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 7 '13 at 22:35
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    Agreed, usually it's rude, but depending on the tone of voice and the friendship between the two people, it's possible for it to not be considered rude. For example, if the second person is picking apart really unimportant details, "whatever" can mean, "ok, I guess you're right, but it really doesn't matter that much". – Trish Rempel Mar 20 '13 at 2:34
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    Anything might be tolerable among friends in the right context; that doesn't mean it isn't rude, just that the rudeness is tolerated or understood as a joke. I'd emphasize that outside just the right context, this reply is not just rude but extremely rude. – TypeIA Apr 25 at 11:38
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It comes across that you are inattentive or uninterested in what is being said.

Also sometimes it is used when you disagree, but don't really want to say so. This would be considered rude, though amongst friends may be OK.

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