In a conversation at work the other day I was making a statement and for some reason my brain just decided to use the word “irregardless” instead of “regardless”. I know that “regardless” is more common, but the “ir-” just popped in there and I spit it out. Two coworkers immediately turned to me and said, “Um, irregardless is not a word, it’s ‘regardless’.” I shrugged and moved on, but it stuck in my head, and I suspected that there was more to the story. At the very least, I like to think that I don’t just make up gramatically incorrect words on the spot.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online entry for irregardless:
Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.
It is indeed a word. Sure, it’s messy, it’s “still a long way from general acceptance” but it’s one of those words that’s stuck around for whatever reason. I propose we further bastardize this word and add yet another negative prefix. I give you: nonirregardless