in spite of

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English

Preposition[edit]

in spite of

  1. (idiomatic) Despite, irrespective of, notwithstanding.
    • 1898, Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, Courier Dover Publications (1991), ISBN 0486266842, page 72,
      No evening I had passed at Bly had the portentous quality of this one; in spite of which—and in spite also of the deeper depths of consternation that had opened beneath my feet—there was literally, in the ebbing actual, an extraordinarily sweet sadness.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In spite of is at once three words and one preposition; as may be seen in the 1898 quotation above, it is not separated during preposition-stranding (hence “in spite of which [] ”, never *“of which [] in spite”), but it may sometimes be separated by an adverb (as in “in spite also of”).
  • The phrase is often misused where regardless of would be appropriate.

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