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Monday, June 21, 2021

Merriam-Webster just recognised ‘irregardless’ as a real word

Unlikely words do find their way to dictionaries. Last year, Oxford English Dictionary (OED) ushered a new entrant--the  Indian word ‘chuddies’ meaning underpants. 

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 8, 2020 9:15:30 am
Needless to say, the recognition of the word has caused a huge uproar.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In case you have been debating over the usage of irregardless in a sentence, you might want to stop. Merriam-Webster has just recognised it as a real word. Needless to say, it has caused a huge uproar. Anticipating this and even having fun at the expense, they shared on their website: “It has come to our attention lately that there is a small and polite group of people who are not overly fond of the word irregardless.” Reasoning their choice, they further stated, The reason we, and these dictionaries above, define irregardless is very simple: it meets our criteria for inclusion. This word has been used by a large number of people (millions) for a long time (over two hundred years) with a specific and identifiable meaning (“regardless”).”

Taking cognisance of the criticism that there already exists the word ‘regardless’ that means the same, they wrote:  “The fact that it is unnecessary, as there is already a word in English with the same meaning (regardless) is not terribly important; it is not a dictionary’s job to assess whether a word is necessary before defining it. The fact that the word is generally viewed as nonstandard, or as illustrative of poor education, is likewise not important; dictionaries define the breadth of the language, and not simply the elegant parts at the top.”

Going on to define the word, they stated, “We define irregardless, even though this act hurts the feelings of many. Why would a dictionary do such a thing? Do we enjoy causing pain? Have we abdicated our role as arbiter of all that is good and pure in the English language? These are all excellent questions (well, these are all questions), and you might ask them of some of these other fine dictionaries, all of whom also appear to enjoy causing pain through the defining of tawdry words.”

Along with this, it has also added 535 new words this year which include, thirsty signifying strong desire for attention and zonkey which is a hybrid of zebra and donkey.

Unlikely words do find their way to dictionaries. Last year, Oxford English Dictionary (OED) ushered a new entrant–the  Indian word ‘chuddies’ meaning underpants.  The word gained significance for it being used in British-Asian comedy series on BBC television in the mid-1990s, Goodness Gracious Me. 

In 2011, OED recognised LOL as an entrant.

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