There seems to be some dispute as to how best to point out that, grating as this term may be, regardless appears to be used about 200 times as much (perhaps more, if we filter out complaints about the use of irregardless in favor of actual use). This is edging toward the "common error" designation. I'm not sure where to draw the line here. By comparison, "develope" gets 400K hits, as against 85M for "develop", or just about the same ratio.
On the other hand, I'm not sure that we should apply the same standard for inflections as for spellings. Also, irregardless appears to have some prominent proponents, including the President of the United States (George W. Bush).
At any rate, it seems worth noting, somewhere, that the "correct" usage is overwhelmingly more frequent. This is in conrast to, say, tidal wave, which is about even with tsunami and decimate in the sense of "severely reduce", which is overwhelmingly favored over the "correct" but curiously virtually unattested sense of "reduce by 10%". -dmh 05:43, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- I'm avoiding the "correctness" issue at this time, but to say that the use of this word is rare is out of touch with reality. 139K Google hits certainly suggests "very common" to me. Google can only give hits for the written language, while this term is used even more frequently in the spoken language. The first five English words that I got from the random page function were varnish - 1,360,000 hits, pound - 19,500,000 hits, twaddler - 10,300 hits, deem - 1,170,000 hits, and shitake - 121,000 hits. Two have fewer hits than "irregardless", and there is no move to call them rare. Something truly rare should have less than 100 hits. If you want "relatively rare" you should say relative to what. Eclecticology 05:50, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
- <Jun-Dai 02:53, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)> One difference between irregardless and develope is that irregardless has made its way into a number of dictionaries, where develope has not. Even if we are to strive for ideals of descriptivism, that is a description of the word worth including. I shudder to imagine the effect, however, of including all of Mr.President's vocabulary and grammar into our Wiktionary. Should we have a category "words that most dictionaries consider incorrect but the US president does not?" :) </Jun-Dai>
Irregardless of the fact that "irregardless" is improper English it has definitely become a word through ignorance and use. I would think that our entry should indicate that it is the "incorrect" usage and that regardless is the correct word and move on. Kevin Rector 03:50, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
- I would like to suggest an alternative explanation for the prevalence of this word: "Regardless" is just a bad word. Say it in a sentence - "Bob was going to school regardless of the weather" vs. "Bob was going to school irregardless of the weather". Honestly speaking, setting aside technical semantic objections, which one SOUNDS more like what you are trying to express? I would have to say "Irregardless" does, though I cannot give a explicit reason why. Maybe "Regardless" is just not a particularly euphonic word?
- The simplest way to explain the idea is that the overwhelming majority of English words follow a Latin pattern of not accenting the final syllable. For some reason "regardless" sounds clumsy when accenting the "gard" unless you want to specifically accent "regardless" in the sentence. At the same time you can't accent the "re" because then the word appears to have a prefix ("re") when it in fact does not. The word regard derives from French "Regarder", but there is no English word that corresponds directly to "Gard" in French in this formulation. So while you can accent the RE in re-instate, re-invigorate, re-phrase, you can't in revolt, repudiate or repeat because that would imply "volting" again or "peating" again.
- The exception that proves the rule here is replace, you don't usually say REplace in the sense of placing again. Replace has become a prefixed word without a prefix. When you can't replace something it is not "replaceless" or "irreplace" but "irreplaceable". Same for "irredeemable". So why not "irregardable"? Because that is not what you are trying to say, disregard and unregardable (i.e. not regardable) means something entirely different from regardless. The real question then is why IRREGARD is not a word and why UNREGARDLESS is not a word.
- Adding "ir" in front appears to allow the word to be used in speech in a manner which produces the correct stress, (i.e. on "gard") without indicating the whole word is stressed within the sentence. We say "irregardless" not because because it follows the pattern of irrespective, but because it follows the pattern of irreplaceable.
- This may account for the common occurrence of the word in spoken language. To put it more succinctly: "Irregardless" rolls of the tongue better while "regardless" only makes superficial sense in the abstract, even though the capacity to convey meaning is not specifically enhanced (indeed it is seriously impaired) by the "correct" usage. This may also account for the fact that Google searches finds regardless more often (a ridiculous metric of anything important) while irregardless appears to be a phenomenon more frequently encountered in speech. DubhGlass 17:09, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
- Does not the "less" suggest something? It means "without" and "regardless" means, therefore, "without regard." That's readily apparent to me when I see the word, though I understand that it might not seem that way to someone thinking about it differently, or who has never made the connection. I disagree that it is a "bad word." JodianWarrior (talk) 15:32, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Comment from AugustOmalley -
After reading a variety of statements regarding the use and validity of the word "irregardless", I decided to post my understanding of the words purpose and use in this discussion for others to consider. I was additionally motivated after reviewing the entries listed on the Citations tab of this article, which, in my own opinion, validate what I consider to be the unique usefulness of the word.
- An example use of the word ‘regardless’ from the Merriam-Webster website:
- "The weather looked bad, but they were resolved to go on with their picnic regardless."
- Purpose and use: Informs the receiver that a decision (has been/is being/will be) made in the context of evaluating an influencing factor.
- Compare to this example use of the word ‘irregardless’:
- The weather looked bad, but since the picnic was being moved indoors it would take place irregardless.
- Purpose and use: Informs the receiver that a decision (has been/is being/will be) made in the context of evaluating an influencing factor that (has/will) become irrelevant.
AugustOmalley 20:04, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
(@JustinCB) It seems that the word was created in the 2nd half of the 19th century (that is 1850-1900). [By the citations in the entry and by the Google Book results I got it seems to be from the 1870s. According to OED it's from the 19th century or more precisely from the mid 19th century, while according to dictionary.com it's from the early 20th century.] Thus explanations related to Old and Middle English (as in and maybe implicitly in ) don't seem to be fitting. -188.8.131.52 14:10, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
- It appears to have been coined before that because the Wikipedia article cites the first time it was printed was in the City Gazette & Daily Advertiser (Charleston, South Carolina), the edition of June 23, 1795. This probably means that it was coined before that(possibly around 100 years before when you say it was coined). The new edit implies a later time, but before double negatives were condemned by people that were trying to make English more like Latin(which don't make no sense, for English ain't Latin), which would mean the mid 18th century, which makes sense, for most words are spoken before being printed. JustinCB (talk) 15:10, 1 December 2017 (UTC)