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Regarding “Irregardless”

Would you agree with the following statement?  “Irregardless is not a word.”   If so, you might be surprised to learn that it actually is in the dictionary.  (Merriam-Webster.com)

It’s thought to have originated as a blend of the words irrespective and regardless, with the first documented usage traced back to around 1912.  Perhaps it may have been used in this context: “The Titanic has sunk, irregardless of her reputation as the unsinkable ship!

Extensive use of the word brought it to the attention of commentators as early as 1927.  To this day, the most frequently repeated remark about it is “there is no such word.”  But, in fact, there is such a word, and it can occasionally be found in edited prose, although you are most likely to encounter it primarily in dialectal American speech.

For those who still insist that “irregardless is not a word,” you can take a measure of comfort and justification in the fact that although irregardless may appear in modern dictionaries, it also comes with the following one word caveat:  nonstandard.

Here’s another interesting fact about the word irregardless:  according to a list on their website, it is the 65th most popular word on Merriam-Webster.com.  If you are like me, now you are curious about the number one most popular word.  Any guesses?

Merriam-Webster Online:  Most Popular Word Searches

Ann Mauren provides affordable copy editing and ebook formatting services.  She’s also a logophile.