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Irregardless – WordWednesdayFun

We may have some real fun with this week’s word, irregardless. First of all, is it a word?

Adam Lawrence of The Retrospective Reel is of the opinion it is. He is Canadian so I can’t accuse him of a lack of understanding of the Queen’s English 🙂 But seriously, Adam, thanks for the inspiration.

He has mentioned this word (or is it?) to me a few times and I thought it is high time I formed an opinion.  My initial thoughts without any reading were that it was not a word. It was something made up by those weird speakers of the mother tongue – those damn Yanks 🙂

You know, those people who think a fanny is a butt and a fag is not for smoking! In any event, a butt is an abbreviated form of butty. For goodness sake, a butt is an arse! “Nice arse” is so much more earthy than a diluted “nice butt”! It conveys the true feelings of the commentator (often male). It is not only earthy but replete with lust!

I digress!

Irregardless  Regardless of my own initial thoughts we had best follow the usual pattern and see what Merriam-Webster has to say about irregardless.

irregardless
adverb ir·re·gard·less \ˌir-i-ˈgärd-ləs\
Popularity: Top 1% of lookups
Definition of irregardless
nonstandard
: regardless

Usage Discussion of irregardless
Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

Example in a sentence
I told them that irregardless of what you read in books, they’s some members of the theatrical profession that occasionally visits the place where they sleep. —Ring Lardner, The Big Town, 1921

Origin
probably blend of irrespective and regardless

First Known Use: circa 1912


M-W uses a Facebook comment plugin and I do like this comment which is shown at the top of the comment list –

Dj-Emir Santana · Art Institute of Colorado
Irregardless is not a correct word it only is considered a word because so many people mistakingly use it. Regardless of this, if you really thought about the word it would mean the opposite of the word Regardless regardless is already not having regard for something Wheras Irregardless would therefore mean “HAVING NO REGARD, FOR HAVING NO REGARD” LOL basically meaning you DO HAVE REGARD for something so the word negates the meaning you are trying to convey. As a bet we looked it up in the Oxford dictionary… albeit I was not actually expecting to find the word in there… the definition I found to win the bet that Irregardless was not an actual word or at least should not be was found in the Oxford dictionary as:

Irregardless: (disp.=REGARDLESS) Though in widespread use, this word should be avoided in favor of Regardless. (See Regardless)

The definition gave us both a huge laugh as I said TAKE THAT!
Like · Reply · 1 · Apr 22, 2016 2:41am · Edited

 

Indeed there are 741 comments in total. Here are a few others –

“I have always used the word irregardless, my son have informed me that there is no such word. He told me to look it up and I need to know that there is meaning or use of this word and prove him wrong, he’s such a mister smarty pants,”

“I cringe every time I hear it. I can’t believe it’s even considered a word.”

“It isn’t. It says non-standard.”

But for me Meg Anne Skinner nails it –

Meg Anne Skinner · University of Memphis
why would you want to say a word with a prefix when the word is good enough.
Like · Reply · 2 · Mar 25, 2016 4:00pm

 


I do know that my old English master, Charlie Middlehurst, would have had apoplexy at the mere thought of this word. I also parried words with wise counsel and even wiser judges in my time at the English Bar as trial counsel. I simply cannot contemplate any situation when this (word) would have been used. Irregardless of my own lexicological shortcomings 🙂


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4 Comments

  1. I agree that it’s a “word”… and that’s where the matter rests. (Lots of words can be left alone and no harm done; they can go on with their wordy little lives, perhaps tickled over their very existence: “I can’t be-LIEVE they think I’m a WORD!” Oh well. Word!)

    • I am unconvinced that is “where the matter rests.” M-W decrees it is a word but accepts it ought not to be used saying ‘regardless’ is the proper form. It begs the question therefore, when is a word not a word? This is where it rests (as I see it) – it will never form part of my vocabulary 🙂

      • Adam Lawrence

        May 2, 2016 at 7:00 am

        I only meant that I agree it’s a word, not that I think it’s a GOOD word. And also that, try as we might, those silly words (like “irregardless”) will stick around because (as M-W notes) they keep getting used in published writing. (So, the “matter” [of fighting against that stubborn ability for bad words to continue their existence] “rests” for me since it’s a losing battle.)

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