Sorry, Grammarians, ‘Irregardless’ is Now a Word
Merriam-Webster, renowned as one of the most reliable and conservative dictionaries, raised hell among guardians of the English language when it included “irregardless” in its Words of the Week on July 3, affirming its lexical veracity.
It was a good run, English language pic.twitter.com/ftcjLh5lmw— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 1, 2020
“Irregardless is included in our dictionary because it has been in widespread and near-constant use since 1795,” reads the explanation on Merriam-Webster’s site.
But irregardless is not the only word that appears in the dictionary for the very first time. Merriam-Webster has also allowed entry to “new” words such as bewhiskered, citizenry, and terrorism, “all of which have their earliest written evidence the same year as irregardless.”
According to the team at Merriam-Webster, the prefix ir acts as an intensifier for the word regardless, despite how many people find it offensively redundant.
‘Irregardless’ has been in the dictionary since 1934.
In an interview with National Public Radio, a spokesperson for Merriam-Webster revealed irregardless first appeared in the dictionary’s unabridged edition in 1934. Other dictionaries have also recognized the word’s validity, including The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and the Cambridge Dictionary.
‘We do not make the English language, we merely record it.’
Merriam-Webster closes the arguments on irregardless by saying they merely record the words that are being used in the English language.
“We do not make the English language, we merely record it. If people use a word with consistent meaning, over a broad geographic range, and for an extended period of time chances are very high that it will go into our dictionary.”