"Irregardless" is included in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. Does it deserve to be there?
Do you just not like it, or is this a regular argument that writers have over drinks?
It's an argument I've had more than once with other editor-type people. "Irregardless" is considered to be a commonly misspoken word. What the speaker usually means is "regardless," but he or she adds "irr" probably thinking of "irrespective." Some claim that if the word is used incorrectly enough, it becomes a word (or at least a variant) that should be included in the dictionary. Here is Merriam-Webster's defense of including it: youtube.com
I bet "F'sho" is on its way to joining Merriam Webster. I think that language is a constantly evolving thing, and a word becpmes a word when it slips into at least a decent-sized portion of the population's vocabulary. But there has to be a line somewhere for misspellings, or clarity of language and our ability to understand one another slips. Next up: "teh" as variation for "the"?
Yeah, good point Ellen. I would have chosen to not include irregardless personally since it's "wrong". Just like a dont without the apostrophe isn't in the dictionary even though we're all guilty of using it that way.
Irregardless, Geoff is right.
Ohmygod, Andrew, you took the words right out of my mouth (can we include "ohmygod"?. I was going to say something witty about how it "most definitely should not be in there. That's like saying 'bootylicious' should be. Oops."
I know it's a snob thing to say, but as someone who prides herself on her vocabulary, "irregardless" feels like someone trying too hard to sound intelligent.
Sounds like I'm the only descriptivist (Merriam Webster's camp) in this thread. I loved this piece in the May 14 issue of the New Yorker about the history of the same argument we're having. I especially like how it points out the politics inherent to the perscriptivist/descriptionist debate: designating certain forms of speech as "right" or "wrong" inevitably connects to a judgment of some cultures being more "right" and others more "wrong" depending on their usage of language. newyorker.com
> I would have chosen to not include irregardless personally since it's "wrong". Just like a dont without the apostrophe isn't in the dictionary even though we're all guilty of using it that way.
But people decide what language is. We made it, not the other way around. Dictionaries came into existence so if you heard a new word that you didn't understand, you could look it up. If the word was common enough, you'd find a definition.
I just looked in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged 11th Edition, and bootylicious isn't there. They added it in 2002, according to news reports. Another of the words added in 2002, noogie, is still there. It would appear that they quietly removed it at some point, at least from the online unabridged edition. So I guess they agree with you, Andrew!
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch