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Re: [css-fonts] "Irregardless"? REALLY?

From: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 08:42:25 -0800
Cc: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <D59A0874-F58C-49FC-B76F-A286F2E988EF@gmail.com>
To: "Eric A. Meyer" <eric@meyerweb.com>

On Dec 2, 2009, at 8:01 AM, Eric A. Meyer wrote:

>   So just last night, I was reading up on 'font-size'adjust' (3.7) and stumbled into the following bit of prose:
>   "It does this by adjusting the font-size so that the x-height
>    is the same irregardless of the font used."
>   Horrified, I searched the document and discovered it AGAIN in the description of 'unicode-range' (4.5):
>   "Code points outside of the defined unicode-range are ignored,
>    irregardless of whether the font contains a glyph for that
>    code point or not."
> I believe both instances should be changed to "regardless", because that's an actual word.  "irrespective" would also be an acceptable substitute, though in my opinion just barely.  See <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/irregardless> for more information, if that's really necessary.
>   Also, never tell me who did this, because if I find out I'll be honor-bound to follow through on my public statement and slap them like a haddock.  (Yes, "like", not "with".)
> -- 

Enough people use "irrespective" to make it an actual word. It is hardly the first instance of a word in English that seems to mean the opposite of what it should, or of what it originally meant.

Dictionaries can be both proscriptive and descriptive. Misuse of words turns out to be one of the biggest ways that languages change and evolve[1], and it always involves traditionalists bemoaning the disintegration of their language. But basically, if enough people misuse a word in the same way, the word takes on that new meaning, and dictionaries eventually have to adapt by describing the new meaning.

[1] <http://www.unfoldingoflanguage.com/>
Received on Wednesday, 2 December 2009 16:43:08 UTC

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