Usage Note: Irregardless is a word that many people mistakenly believe to be correct in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. The word was coined in the United States in the early 1900s, presumably from a blend of irrespective and regardless. Many critics have complained that it is a redundancy, the negative prefix ir- duplicating the negativity of the -less suffix. Perhaps its reputation as a blend of ill-fitting parts has caused some to insist that it is a "nonword," a charge they would not think of leveling at a nonstandard word with a longer history, such as ain't. Since people use irregardless, it is undoubtedly a word in the broader sense of the language, but it has never been accepted in Standard English and is virtually always changed by copyeditors to regardless. The Usage Panel has roundly disapproved of its use since polling began; in 2012, 90 percent found the sentence A scientist investigating a social issue should seek to find out the truth, irregardless of its political implications to be unacceptable.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus