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My boss always says “irregardless” when I believe he should be saying “regardless.” Is irregardless even a word? Since I know what he means and more importantly, since he IS the boss, I refrain from correcting him, but this misusage always makes me cringe. Any insight? I’ll hang up and listen!

  • September 26, 2005
  • Posted by kitty
  • Filed in Usage

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"Irregardless" is a word, a synonym for "regardless." It's commonly used in informal settings and mostly with humor. It was originally derived from a combination of "regardless" and "irrespective."

Joe4 September 26, 2005 @ 10:59PM

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The important rule is that he's the boss ;)

Technically, the use of the word "irregardless" is very much incorrect if he is using it in place of regardless. Going by basic word prefix definitions, the ir- prefix is the same as non- or un-, in the case that whatever word follows isn't the case. Unaware would indicate that the subject of the verb is not aware. Inexperienced, again the subject is inexperienced.

In this case, saying irregardless would mean that the subject was "without regardlessness" or "without a lack of regard". Thanks to our friend the double negative, this would mean that something that was "irregardless" was indeed worthy of recognition and regard.

Unfortunately, the acadamia of English and the practical application therein are two seperate animals, and context becomes more valuable than any prefix double-negation is. So, technically it is incorrect to say "irregardless" in replacement of "regardless", but in spoken English, as long as the meaning is accurately conveyed, the word performed its job.

RC September 27, 2005 @ 5:05AM

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no it is not a word. It should never be used.

mike7 September 27, 2005 @ 4:48PM

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the prefix rule isn't always hard and fast though, think of the words inflamable, or unloosen. replenish used to mean to fill for the first time, despite the "re-" prefix. i often hear and use the word irregardless and i believe it to be a word.

Kevin_Hall September 27, 2005 @ 9:12PM

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Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

gine September 27, 2005 @ 9:35PM

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It doesn't seem any different from "flammable" and "inflammable", or a house that burns up as it burns down..

Irregardless was made famous by the L'il Abner comic strip. Mammy Yokum was especially likely to say it.

SmartAZ September 28, 2005 @ 6:37AM

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I had the same experience with my high school physics teacher, who seemed to use the word every day. But I looked it up in the dictionary to make sure I was in the right before criticizing, and my Merriam-Webster unabridged listed it as a synonym for "regardless."

Alex1 September 28, 2005 @ 9:12AM

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re: SmartAZ and inflammable
I thought inflammable came from French for enflame, thus meant "enflame-able." The "in-" isn't a "not" prefix in this case.

Jerry1 September 28, 2005 @ 10:42AM

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Its a non-word that is becoming a word through common use.

Doug1 September 28, 2005 @ 1:33PM

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Gee, an extra syllable would really add some 'zing' to this little pep-talk.

I'm cringing just hearing about this guy.

good October 1, 2005 @ 1:14PM

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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 October 26, 2005 @ 3:15PM

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Its fab

gooooh May 14, 2006 @ 8:18AM

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just love him

mooly May 14, 2006 @ 8:19AM

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