I came across this headline: "Oklahoma Stops Botched Execution. Inmate Dies Anyway." (link)

I was truly disturbed by the use of "anyway". To me, it implies a nonchalant attitude about something that is highly sensitive and controversial. Am I wrong? Is the use of "anyway" acceptable?


What made me post this question is the use of "anyway" in casual speech. For example, after a pause, one side says "Anyway, should we go to lunch?" So, I have this feeling about "anyway" being a less-than-worthy word that one would not use in formal settings. Am I still wrong?

  • 3
    You have a point, but then again this is but a blog. Not exactly the highest register.
    – RegDwigнt
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:12
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    It is a bit curt, but check the other headlines by the same blog author...She might be known for an irreverent or nonchalant style
    – mjsqu
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:13
  • @RegDwigнt: Here's a similar headline from a TV news channel: Okla. execution: 'Chaos' after injection is stopped, inmate dies anyway, from: whas11.com/news/…
    – user40248
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:16
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    The casual nature in "Anyway, should we go to lunch?" derives from the catch-all dismissal of anything that might have been previously under discussion. If the lunch in question is of great consequence (perhaps because of who you're meeting for lunch) and the previous topic or activity was very frivolous, it wouldn't appear casual at all. It would be a reminder that it's time to get down to business.
    – frances
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:54
  • @frances +1 GREAT explanation, thank you so much. You are right, frivolous activity, followed by "anyway", then followed by something serious, negates, in that context, the dismissive meaning of anyway. BTW, I could not come up w/ the precision in the wording of your explanation even if someone held a gun to my head! :-)
    – user40248
    Apr 30, 2014 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


Anyway can mean 'nonetheless', or it can mean 'whatever'. You are hearing the usage like 'Whatever... let's move on', when the author meant 'Nonetheless... inspite of our efforts'

  • +1 That's it, "hearing" a certain usage was what was tripping me up. Thanks!
    – user40248
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:57

I don't see much nonchalance in this case.

Anyway just means that something happens, notwithstanding actions that were expected to prevent it from happening.

His father forbade him to do that, but he did it anyway.
The road was almost impossible to drive on, but we tried it anyway.
Because of the storm, we attached extra lines, but the tent flew away anyway.

  • Yes, but the use of "anyway" makes it seem as if the inmate had a choice.
    – user40248
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:12
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    No, it doesn't. Consider the synonym 'nonetheless'. "I fixed the leg and the table fell over anyway." does not make for a sentient table. Apr 30, 2014 at 19:18
  • @JonJayObermark - I understand, but can "fall" be used for a table? A table is inanimate, and cannot fall on its own volition.
    – user40248
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:20
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    @Sabuncu: yes, in English, tables, rocks, trees can all fall. Falling is not considered to be a sentient action.
    – oerkelens
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:22
  • I fixed the leg and the table fell/collapsed/spontaneously combusted anyway
    – mjsqu
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:23

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