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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, 11:30am

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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, 7:19am

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Dave is right about 'irrespective'. Trask (1996) in his 'Historical Linguistics' says that the word 'regardless' undergoes reanalysis or rather misanalysis due to the accidental similarity to 'irrespective'. To me it looks like a fusion of the two spellings.

marta September 7, 2004, 1:04am

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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 16, 2004, 10:41pm

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I know for a fact that irrugardless is as you say a word that people use when trying to sound clever. It is not a real word. I recently read a book about the most common mistakes in speech and writing, and that was one of the most common mistakes.
Irregardless is not a real word.

Ben September 17, 2004, 7:52pm

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,The word was probably created when IRRESPECTIVE and REGARDLESS (which are both valid words) were unwisely spliced together and IRREGARDLESS was born.

Kroft September 18, 2004, 9:53am

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Yes, "irregardless" is based on analogy with words like "respective ~ irrespective". "Analogy" is actually the technical term in linguistics for this phenomenon. Another example is "dove" as the past tense for "dive" (it's actually "dived", but not too many people say that anymore), coming from an analogy with "drive ~ drove".

ryan October 26, 2004, 6:30pm

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I enjoy farting.

Barb October 27, 2004, 10:53pm

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Surely not, although I can't put my finger on why it sounds so *completely* wrong...

MM December 4, 2004, 12:20am

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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, 4:12am

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I think it may be an intrusion of the double negative, as in Bush's witless 'misunderestimate.'

Sue de Nîme January 25, 2005, 2:19am

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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, 2:55am

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Speedwell, you're on the right track, and ryan, you pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Proper American english uses analogies in speech, and comparative thinking among the masses, which is why irregardless became popular, as related to similar words of distinction. Historical usage of this dates to the early 1920's in spoken language, and has gained in popularity. Also, irregardless IS A LEGITIMATE WORD. It has been used in vere, poetry, song, very far back. Although a proper word, is usage is based on the above antology, by convention, regardless is MORE propper.
The historical significance can be compared to the:
drive, drove, driven
dive, dived (dove), diven
both dive, and regardless are weak verbs, and regional dialect dictates usage. Engish (Brittish) speech has dove as an acceptable term, while American dialect prefers the term dived. Past tense usage anthologies are commonly misused for many word in American english speech. The historical significance of the word dive was actually derived from the old Middle-English european term "duven" or "diven", therefore by origin, the terms:
dive, dove, diven are correct by design, just not by the American standard definition.
Similarly this can be related to the invention of irregardless from regardless; we are history in the making. If we do not change, we are doomed to repeat it.

FireMountian February 16, 2005, 1:37pm

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I think this has happens very simply because the blasted thing is used so often that people have forgotten that it is incorrect. The context of its usage provides for either replacement of irregardless with the proper regardless or a restructure of the sentence to allow disregard to reign. This "word" so often crashes into my ears that the hair on the back of my neck stands up to hear it. As for the argument that "it is a word because people use it" is ridiculous....people say "yup" also, but that doesn't make it a valid word! Do any of you remember "ain't"? What is that the contraction of? I don't care how common it still "ain't" a valid word!! What's next?..."tooken", I hear that one quite often as well.

Crystal February 15, 2006, 6:03am

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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:

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, 9:57am

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

porsche February 15, 2006, 9:58am

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Ahhh...the forever abused "orientated" of my biggest pet peeves. Someone needs to orient them in the ways of the English language. My guess is that this is a take off of the word "orientation". Understandable, but annoying nonetheless.

smash June 5, 2007, 10:00am

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Yeah, irregardless is a double negative so yeah it doesn't make sense ok whatever. Who cares? Do I use this word? No. I say "regardless." But double negatives are a really common thing, even in English. "I ain't got no money" is a double negative. Sure, that sentence would probably be considered "incorrect" by most of the people who post here, but they're just wrong. It is correct, as it fits a particular set of widely used grammar rules. I suppose we moderns are at least a slight improvement over the ancient Ephraimites who would kill anyone who couldn't pronounce "shibboleth." We merely debase.

AO June 5, 2007, 7:27pm

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And the "ir" prefix does not always indicate negation:


John June 6, 2007, 3:17am

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Yeah but John, the ir of irregardless is definitely supposed to be a a negation. Plus, imperil and impose don't start with ir. Irregardless does not mean "regardless in" it means "not regardless."

AO June 6, 2007, 6:13pm

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You could argue that the "in" morpheme is realized as "im" or "ir" in those words by assimilation.

John June 7, 2007, 4:53am

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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, 7:58am

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Yeah, porsche, I was kidding. I mean, as a high school math teacher of mine once said, during a logic lesson: "if you say 'I don't have no money,' it means 'I have some money.'" I mean, what is that? A contrapositive, or something like that? Come to think of it, I guess even my joke was wrong, since the opposite of regardless would not be regardful, but "some regard." So the laws of mathematical logic say...

I still think irregardless is funny, though perfectly comprehensible and therefore fine by me.

AO June 7, 2007, 2:01pm

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FireMountian: "Engish (Brittish) [sic] speech has dove as an acceptable term, while American dialect prefers the term dived."

Arrant nonsense! I spent the first 37 years of my life in Britain, and I never heard "dove." Now I live in America and hear it all the time (and it grates on my ears).

Nigel June 13, 2007, 5:05am

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

porsche June 13, 2007, 1:43pm

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What? But isn't it supposed to be "dove?" Dived sounds dumb.

AO June 13, 2007, 7:07pm

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I can be either one. Look it up.

PB December 11, 2008, 1:21am

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pb December 11, 2008, 1:22am

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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, 4:00am

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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, 6:29am

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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 :) -

dj-emir April 21, 2016, 1:38am

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Yes     No