Career & Education

Is 'irregardless' a word?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

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Having heard this word one too many times, even from people we thought should have been better informed, we sought guidance from the holy grail — the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

While, to our our dismay, it does list 'irregardless', it describes it as informal, and incorrect in standard English.

This, because of the double negative of the prefix 'ir-' and the suffix '-less'. The former means “not” and the latter means “without”, the resulting translation being “not without regard”.

This, of course, is the opposite of what people generally intend to convey when using the term.

The term is used to mean the same as regardless, the Oxford says, but “the prefix 'ir-' is unnecessary as it merely duplicates the suffix '-less'”.

Also according to the Oxford, 'irregardless' is perhaps a blend of 'irrespective' and 'regardless' and is thought to have orginated in the 20th century.

Other dictionaries have omitted the word altogether.

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