Kory Stamper, a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster and author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, told us that irregardless is a word in the dictionary and how to use it correctly. Following is a transcript of the video.
Irregardless is a word and we’re duty-bound to enter it.
My name is Kory Stamper and I am a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster. That means I am a writer and editor of dictionaries.
One word that gets a lot of vitriol is the word irregardless. There is a dictionary entry for irregardless. Irregardless is a word. This inspires specific vehement hatred in people. Irregardless is a word and we’re duty-bound to enter it.
Irregardless is a word. It is related to regardless. It is actually a blend of two words. It’s a blend of irrespective and regardless. People hate it because they say that it has no use — why not just use regardless? But actually in the dialect that irregardless comes from, it has a specific use that doesn’t translate well in print. It’s basically an emphatic use of regardless. So if you’re a native speaker of certain dialects that use irregardless you use irregardless to shut down further conversation on a topic. I might say, “Dad, let me borrow the car. I’m a really good driver.” And he’ll say, “Regardless, I’m not comfortable.” I’ll say, “Oh but come on. I’ll get it detailed, and I’ll put gas in it.” He’ll say, “Irregardless, no.” The point of the irregardless is to shut down conversation. So irregardless is a word. It has a specific use, in particular dialects. That said, it’s not part of standard English and so — especially if you’re writing or if you’re speaking in formal places — you want to use regardless instead. Because if you use irregardless, people will think you’re uneducated.
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