Irregardless: Is it a word?

Yeah, it's StewieI don’t even think I need an introduction on this one. This word was even brought into question on the popular TV show Family Guy. Stewie becomes President and claims, “Any person who uses the words ‘irregardless’, ‘a-whole-nuther’, ‘all-of-a-sudden’ will be sent to a work camps.” Wow! Well I won’t send you to a work camp, but let’s figure out why Stewie goes insane over irregardless.

Well what does the dictionary say?

According to Merriam-Webster, irregardless is a non-standard form of regardless. So yes, it’s in the dictionary; so yes, it’s a word in some sense. BUT (isn’t there always a but?) non-standard basically means, “This isn’t proper English” and as such, you shouldn’t become comfortable with it.

But why?

Because Merriam-Webster says so? No really. Let’s break apart the word irregardless and see why it’s messed up. Before we even do that, do you know what a suffix is or a prefix is? A suffix is a set of letters at the end of a word that gives the word a particular meaning. Prefix is the same thing, but at the beginning of a word instead of the end. -Less is a suffix and ir- is a prefix. Ok, NOW let’s look at irregardless.

Regard = attention, consideration, care.
Regard + less = without attention, consideration, care.
ir + regard + less = without without attention, consideration, care.

Notice that -less negates the word “regard.” Ir- also has the same negating quality. As such, it essentially makes the word into a double negative–and I’m SURE you all learned how bad double negatives are! A double negative turns into a positive (just like math!).

Final Thoughts

In my eyes, irregardless is not a word. It doesn’t have an actual meaning, it’s considered “nonstandard” in the dictionary, and is a double negative. You should probably avoid this “word” at all costs! Good luck!


Posted in Grammar Quick Fix.

3 Comments

  1. My Pet Peave as well.. I HATE it and when I hear it on calls and in my work environment I giggle but sometimes try *not* to point out it’s not a word..

    I find myself biting my tongue on my superiors 😀

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