enormity

/i nawr"mi tee/, n., pl. enormities
1. outrageous or heinous character; atrociousness: the enormity of war crimes.
2. something outrageous or heinous, as an offense: The bombing of the defenseless population was an enormity beyond belief.
3. greatness of size, scope, extent, or influence; immensity: The enormity of such an act of generosity is staggering.
[1425-75; late ME enormite < MF < L enormitas. See ENORM, -TY2]
Syn. 1. monstrousness, heinousness. 3. hugeness, vastness.
Usage. 3. ENORMITY has been in frequent and continuous use in the sense "immensity" since the 18th century: The enormity of the task was overwhelming. Some hold that ENORMOUSNESS is the correct word in that sense and that ENORMITY can only mean "outrageousness" or "atrociousness": The enormity of his offenses appalled the public. ENORMITY occurs regularly in edited writing with the meanings both of great size and of outrageous or horrifying character, behavior, etc. Many people, however, continue to regard ENORMITY in the sense of great size as nonstandard.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • enormity — enormity, enormousness 1. Both words are derived from Latin e norma meaning ‘out of the ordinary’, and both originally had meanings associated with wicked and criminal aspects of abnormality. Enormity (15c) is older than enormousness (17c), and… …   Modern English usage

  • enormity — enormity, enormousness both mean the state or the quality of being enormous but are rarely interchangeable in modern usage. Enormity imputes an abnormal quality; it applies especially to the state of exceeding all bounds in wickedness or evil,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • enormity — ► NOUN (pl. enormities) 1) (the enormity of) the extreme seriousness or extent of (something bad). 2) great size or scale: the enormity of Einstein s intellect. 3) a grave crime or sin. USAGE Enormity is not related to enormous …   English terms dictionary

  • Enormity — E*nor mi*ty, n.; pl. {Enormities}. [L. enormitas, fr. enormis enormous: cf. F. [ e]normit[ e]. See {Enormous}.] 1. The state or quality of exceeding a measure or rule, or of being immoderate, monstrous, or outrageous. [1913 Webster] The enormity… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • enormity — late 15c., transgression, crime, irregularity, from O.Fr. énormité extravagance, enormity, atrocity, heinous sin, from L. enormitatem (nom. enormitas) hugeness, vastness, irregularity, from enormis (see ENORMOUS (Cf. enormous)). Meaning extreme… …   Etymology dictionary

  • enormity — [n1] horribleness abomination, atrociousness, atrocity, crime, depravity, disgrace, evil, evilness, flagrancy, grossness, heinousness, horror, monstrosity, monstrousness, nefariousness, outrage, outrageousness, rankness, turpitude, vice,… …   New thesaurus

  • enormity — [ē nôr′mə tē, inôr′mə tē] n. pl. enormities [Fr enormité < L enormitas < enormis, irregular, immoderate, immense < e , out + norma, rule: see NORM] 1. great wickedness [the enormity of a crime] 2. a monstrous or outrageous act; very… …   English World dictionary

  • enormity — index degree (magnitude), magnitude, weight (importance) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • enormity — noun (plural ties) Date: 15th century 1. an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act < the enormities of state power Susan Sontag > < other enormities too juvenile to mention Richard Freedman > 2. the quality or state of being immoderate,… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • enormity — [[t]ɪnɔ͟ː(r)mɪti[/t]] enormities 1) N UNCOUNT: usu the N of n If you refer to the enormity of something that you consider to be a problem or difficulty, you are referring to its very great size, extent, or seriousness. I was numbed by the… …   English dictionary

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