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Best regards seems to be quite a popular valediction used in business emails, along with variants kind regards, or just regards.

The spoken expression "give him my regards" would appear to be a suitable starting point for the written valediction Regards, but when did this become best regards? Has it ever existed in written letters?

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In a letter from Queen Elizabeth I, dated 1601, there's the valediction "Your Sovereigne that best regards you." I doubt that this is the first appearance of the phrase "best regards" (and actually, here it's an adverb + verb, whereas as used nowadays it's more of an adjective + noun); but at least it probably means that "best regards," as an ending for a letter, probably started out something like that and was later clipped.

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I would guess it's popularity in recent years would come from the greater number of technical users for whom English is their second language. If I see "Kindly do the needful" one more time, I'm going to have a fit. Just my best guess as to why "best regards" has become so popular. I've been sending emails for years and "thank you," or "Sincerely," were perfectly fine ways to close the email.

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This answer seems to just be peeving about non-native speakers and doesn't provide any evidence, only a feeling. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 20 '13 at 17:31
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I think 'Regards' means 'I send you MY regards', rather than 'give somebody else my regards'. 'Best Regards' would presumably mean you wish to convey an even warmer sentiment. As I read on another thread today, I'd agree that the regards in question are probably the mildest and blandest good wishes you could offer someone.

[However, personally I hate it, since it often feels entirely insincere and said with out a thought.]

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agreed, I hate it too. Any ideas when this became a popular usage? –  gpr Feb 7 '11 at 21:26
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