A friend of mine, a respected linguist, mentioned recently that "despite" (prep) is outdated. Whilst it is true that I hardly ever hear someone using the word in ordinary conversation, I still hear it in scientific seminars, lectures, congresses, etc and I also come across it in technical texts once in a while. What I mean here is "despite" and not "despite of" or "in despite of" which are clearly archaic. The search I've done includes the mainstream dictionaries (ODO, TFD, Merriam-Webster, etc) and they don't mention the word being outdated.


3 Answers 3


Well, here's the Google Ngram for despite. I don't know what it would look like if it was becoming outdated, but I doubt it would look like this:

  • 4
    Hard to say whether I hear it or use it (because I don't monitor my conversation like that) but if I didn't I'd expect to feel that it was strange or unusual and I don't (in British English at least). Despite seems quite a normal word. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 22:21
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    @centaurus I definitely heard it in an interview I had the other day. It's also generally on the lists of different kinds of "linkers" for students doing English for Academic Purposes, IELTS, CAE and the like - one of the reasons that I decided to check it out. Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 0:58
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    @Centaurus I still hear people say it, and I use it myself.
    – Shokhet
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 4:53
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    I use it frequently. Though I often change it up with "in spite of" so as to not sound repetitive. Admittedly, I use the word "despite" far more often when writing than speaking in everyday conversation. Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 20:40
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    Even more to the point, here's a more complete picture. Not only is despite quickly gaining momentum, but the only real alternative in spite of is just as quickly losing in popularity.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 15:45

Uses of despite found on the web in the last hour

Uses of despite found on news sites in the last hour

It's alive and well.

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    If anything, it's a go-to filler word for novice academic writers. Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 3:21
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    Also recent uses of "despite" found on Stack Exchange sites perhaps? Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 6:27
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    Despite: 1058. Bro:68 Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 9:38
  • your first link shows no results for me: Jan 07, 17:32 GMT
    – Octopus
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 17:32
  • @Octopus ah, perhaps a side-effect of google's approach to geolocation. Could you try again please and tell me if it works after my edit?
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 17:35

is it still being used?

An example, from the Associated Press, dated tomorrow
(so, it seems not only is it being used now, it will still be used in the future!)

American businesses ramped up hiring last month, in the latest sign that the nation’s economy is expanding despite worries about global growth.

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