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Irregardless?

I have heard highly educated people use this word. Where did it come from and why do people use it? It seems almost as if they are uncomfortable using just plain old regardless and feel that the word should sound more complex or something, and so they say irregardless. I have never been able to figure out how this word was created. Any ideas?

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My guess is that the similarity to IRRESPECTIVE, which means much the same thing, is the reason IRREGARDLESS slips out.

davidlrattigan September 5, 2004 @ 3:30PM

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Irrespective?

It's a good thought, but I would guess the word they have in mind is "irregular." It's true that "regardless" has only a weakish negative feeling.

speedwell2 September 6, 2004 @ 11:19AM

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I've always thought of "irregardless" as a joke coined by Al Capp in his cartoon strip "Li'l Abner", which it then became kind of hip to use.

shawjonathan September 17, 2004 @ 2:41AM

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It's just irregular, MM. One of those head-scratching idiosyncracies of the language of angels, you know? Look in the dictionary in such cases.

speedwell2 December 4, 2004 @ 9:12AM

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Madame from Nîmes, I think you're right, but do you have any thoughts about why the error is so common and widespread?

speedwell2 January 25, 2005 @ 7:55AM

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Iwould take issue with one thing, Anna. If you've heard anyone use the word, then, by definition, they are NOT highly educated.

This also reminds me of some other clever plays on words:

in music, augminished and demented chords

Humongous (really large)

Gi-huge-ant (really, really large)

a similar previous post:

http://www.painintheenglish.com/post.asp?id=500

My reply reproduced here:

When I was in grade school, some 35 or 40 years ago, the word irregardless was not in the dictionary. At the time, it was not considered a word. Today, it is listed in the dictionary. While it might be listed as, slang, vulgar, colloquial, or obscene, it most definitely has become a word. I would suggest avoiding its use if you want to appear educated.
This reminds me, if boning a chicken means to take out the bones, what is deboning? putting the bones back in?

porsche February 15, 2006 @ 2:57PM

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Oh, also reminds me of another pet peeve: the use of "orientated" instead of "oriented".

porsche February 15, 2006 @ 2:58PM

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While it would be nice, even plausible, to justify the ir- in irregardless as intensifying rather than negating, unfortunately, it would also be incorrect. AO is right. Irregardless is a double-negative, in particular, a double-negative resolving to a negative (It's like the song "I ain't got nobody" [which does NOT mean that the singer HAS somebody] or "Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!").
The word irregardless is generally viewed as a splice error between irrespective and regardless. As little as twenty or thirty years ago, it wasn't considered a word at all. Since then it has officially made its way into the language but is still considered slang or vulgar.
By the way, AO, in another post on this site, you suggested that irregardless means regardful. I'm sure you didn't really mean that. It is a double-negative, but still, irregardless means regardless, similar to the examples I just mentioned.

porsche June 7, 2007 @ 11:58AM

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Nigel, I take my hat off to you for making the distinction between arrant and errant!

porsche June 13, 2007 @ 5:43PM

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I know all the arguments about "irregardless" and here's a vote for the word on the grounds that I've often thought of it as a way to express excedingly or extreme disregard on a subject...a way in one word (as disregard is) to say "without regard"
( meaning "without having any regard" or ignoring the subject..or not accepting some one, their thoughts , ideas or even " disregarding them as a person" or brushing aside a subjects validity)..
So why not a word meaning "excedingly without regard" or extreme disregard? What word could that be? RegardIess seems almost as if it's definition is "without ordinary, or common regard", but what about cases where there is an "extraordinary" disregard for a particular subject?
my vote is for "Irregardless" in these cases...

John March 10, 2011 @ 9:00AM

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Honestly, this word pops into my head a lot when I am masturbating. I don't know why, but it just does. And I hate bad teeth.

Davey Crisco June 12, 2012 @ 10:29AM

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Well regardless of how you feel about this word, it is a word created in error and used in error. It has been erroneously used by several famous authors of the past and present at the chagrin of their contemporaries. Current dictionaries have begun listing the "word" as a non standard word, and apparently many people do not understand what Non Standard means and take that to mean it IS a word. It is a word as in it is in common use. But common misuse does not make it a VALID word when what you actually mean already has a word associated with it. I once corrected a co worker and then my girlfriend about the "word" Irregardless stating that it is not actually a word. A second co worker defended my position immediately with he's correct. I then defined it quickly in an explanation that regardless was already having no regard for something so Irregardless would be "having no regard for having no regard or rather just having regard for something, which obviously is not the meaning she had originally intended. I said the word you would use would be regardless, as in not having any regard for something. Since the other coworkers corroborated my reasoning the dictionary was not sought after that day. Fast forward just a few months later and it was my girlfriend (now my wife) that ended up spouting the word irregardless to which the challenge was issued when I said that it wasn't an actual word. I sort of lost and won the bet at the same time since the "word" was actually in the dictionary but it's definition was : Though in widespread use, this word should be avoided in favor of Regardless. (See Regardless) I never had a problem with knowing this was a false word since I always think of words in a scientific way, that is I think to myself what is the possible root of the word and what is the possible meaning they are trying to convey, does this new word convey what they think it conveys? The only time I use IRREGARDLESS is when I make fun of that particular argument and use it as a means to remind her not to always argue things she's not completely certain of lest we look things up again because 8 out of 10 times I win these "Lets look it up" arguments :) - www.djemir.com

dj-emir April 21, 2016 @ 5:38AM

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