Yep, it’s a legit word. Allow us to explain before any of you pop a vein due to histrionics.
Kory Stamper, a lexicographer from Merriam-Webster, explained in a viral video that “irregardless” is a real word and that there is a dictionary entry for it.
A quick check at the website of Merriam-Webster will give you the following definition:
So, technically, while you can still complain that people should just say “regardless,” you just can’t say that it’s not a real word anymore.
According to Stamper, “irregardless” is a blend of two words: “irrespective” and “regardless.” It was popularized during the 20th century in dialectical American speech, which is why its meaning doesn’t translate well in the written language. What exactly is it for?
“It’s basically an empathic use of “regardless”… you use “irregardless” to shut down further conversation on a topic,” Stamper explained.
In the video, Stamper gives a helpful usage example of the word to make its meaning easier to understand:
That being said, “irregardless” is still not a part of standard English. So if you’re writing, or if you’re speaking in formal places, you should still use “regardless.” Or maybe just don’t use “irregardless” at all so you won’t have to explain that it’s a real word every time.