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Three earlier posts have focused on the ubiquity in contemporary English of the adverb absolutely as an intensified version of the simple affirmatives yes, of course, etc. This speech habit has reached such a degree of pervasiveness as to constitute a verbal tic and a source of annoyance.

In order to counteract the tendency to absolutize affirmation in English, Y-H-B wishes to offer herewith a worthy substitute, viz. irrefragably, pronounced not as recommended in dictionaries with stress on the second syllable but with the more natural stress on the third syllable, the stressed vowel being the same as in ragged.

The word is based on the adjective irrefragable, characterized as follows in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary:

ir·ref·ra·ga·ble [i(r)ˈrefrəgəbəl]
1:  impossible to gainsay, deny, or refute <irrefragable arguments> <irrefragable data> <these irrefragable authorities>
2:  impossible to break or alter :  inviolable, indestructible <irrefragable rules> <an irrefragable cement>
ir·ref·ra·ga·bly [i(r)ˈrefrəgəblɪ]

Late Latin irrefragabilis, from Latin in- 1in- + refragari to resist, oppose (from re- + -fragari —as in suffragari to vote for, support) + -abilis -able
First Known Use: 1533 (sense 1)

Readers of this blog are urged to try irrefragably on for size whenever the urge to say absolutely comes over them.


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