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Off topic: In defense of 'irregardless'

Not only is "irregardless" a word, but it's probably the best word of all time. Here's why.

Irregardless of the topic of this post, here is a photo of Oscar Gamble. Baseball-Fever.com

In a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about overpriced Halo USB drives, I used the word "irregardless." And as these TalkBack posts show, it wasn't a very popular decision.

For example, one BoopieJones (awesome screen name notwithstanding) challenged the very existence of the word. Another reader, JustDenny, was noticeably shaken by the use of the word, e-shouting "oh no!!!" before noting that the word is a double-negative.

In response, I would like to say that "irregardless" is a word. It is, at least according to Merriam-Webster and Scrabble.

But I'm not going to stop there. No. I would also like to contend that "irregardless" is the baddest-ass word of all time. This is for several reasons, which I will now explain.

  1. It's the only word where attaching the "ir-" prefix to the root word has the exact same meaning as the root word: Throwing an "ir-" in front of normal, less bad-ass words that begin with "R" changes the meaning to the opposite of the word. Irrefutable. Irreverent. Irrelevant. Irresponsible. Not "irregardless." It doesn't care what the rules of grammar are. It means exactly the same thing as "regardless," and that's the way it likes it.

  2. Against all odds, against all logic, and (ir)regardless of everyone hating it, it has achieved official word status: How can you not pull for the underdog in this case? "Irregardless" went up against the rules of grammar, stick-by-the-book lexicographers, and the fact that it's a completely redundant word. Didn't matter. Whatever didn't kill it made it stronger. It's the hardest-working word in the dictionary, and it should have earned your respect by now.

  3. Even though it's a word, Merriam-Webster says you shouldn't use it: Can you name another word in the dictionary that the dictionary says you shouldn't use? Even really bad swear words don't have a dictionary-imposed boycott. That just makes me want to use it more.

  4. It simultaneously makes sense and doesn't make sense: You can think of the word in one of two ways: (1) it should mean the opposite of "regardless," or something along the lines of "keeping the facts in regard," or (2) it could mean "regardless of the fact that something is regardless." The latter of the two is like double-super regardless, and it's the meaning I prefer. "Irregardless" really, really doesn't care what the facts are or what you think. It should only be used in extreme circumstances, such as when a course of action is ridiculously counterintuitive. "Irregardless of the fact that you are very thirsty, you should eat this pile of salt." Stuff like that.

  5. It practices what it preaches: Irregardless of the rules of grammar, "irregardless" is a word. It's self-reflexive. It's the exception that proves the rule. It talks the talk and walks the walk. Is there another word like that? No, because "irregardless" is bad-ass. It is a text-based Chuck Norris, roundhouse-kicking everything else in the dictionary into submission.

  6. If you think about it long enough, it will blow your mind: It's the Mobius Strip of words, but it's also packed with Eminem's aggressively apathetic attitude. It's completely unique, completely confusing, and it couldn't give a rat's ass about any of that. It just is what it is. If you don't like it, don't use it.

So that's my argument. I think "irregardless" should be embraced and celebrated. And damn it, I'm going to use it every chance I get.