enormity


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e·nor·mi·ty

 (ĭ-nôr′mĭ-tē)
n. pl. e·nor·mi·ties
1. The quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.
2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.
3. Usage Problem Great size; immensity.

[French énormité, from Old French, from Latin ēnormitās, from ēnormis, unusual, enormous; see enormous.]
Usage Note: Enormity is frequently used to refer simply to the property of being great in size or extent, but many people would prefer that enormousness (or a synonym such as immensity) be used for this general sense, and that enormity be limited to situations that demand a negative moral judgment, as in Not until the war ended and journalists were able to enter Cambodia did the world really become aware of the enormity of Pol Pot's oppression. A majority of the Usage Panel has rejected the general use of enormity since the 1960s, and although resistance to this usage has lost some of its intensity, it remains strong. In our 1967 survey, 93 percent of the Panel rejected the word's use to refer to physical extent in the example The enormity of Latin America is readily apparent from these maps. In both our 1988 and 2002 surveys, 59 percent of the Panel rejected the use of enormity as a synonym for immensity in the example At that point the engineers sat down to design an entirely new viaduct, apparently undaunted by the enormity of their task. Even if one sides with the dissenting 41 percent and allows for enormity's largeness, it may be best to avoid it in phrases like the enormity of the president's election victory and the enormity of her inheritance, where enormity's sense of monstrousness may give rise to unintended smirks.

enormity

(ɪˈnɔːmɪtɪ)
n, pl -ties
1. the quality or character of being outrageous; extreme wickedness
2. an act of great wickedness; atrocity
3. informal vastness of size or extent
[C15: from Old French enormite, from Late Latin ēnormitās hugeness; see enormous]
Usage: In modern English, it is common to talk about the enormity of something such as a task or a problem, but one should not talk about the enormity of an object or area: distribution is a problem because of India's enormous size (not India's enormity)

e•nor•mi•ty

(ɪˈnɔr mɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. outrageous or heinous character; monstrousness: the enormity of the crime.
2. something outrageous or heinous, as an offense.
3. greatness of size, scope, or extent; immensity: The enormity of the task was overwhelming.
[1425–75; < Middle French < Latin]
usage: enormity has been in continuous use in the sense “immensity” since the 18th century. Some hold that enormousness is the correct word in that sense and that enormity can only mean “outrageousness” or “atrociousness.” enormity occurs regularly in edited writing with the meanings both of great size and of outrageous or horrifying character, behavior, etc. Some people, however, continue to condemn its use in the sense “great size.”
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.enormity - the quality of being outrageous
indecency - the quality of being indecent
2.enormity - vastness of size or extent; "in careful usage the noun enormity is not used to express the idea of great size"; "universities recognized the enormity of their task"
immenseness, immensity, sizeableness, vastness, enormousness, grandness, greatness, wideness - unusual largeness in size or extent or number
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
3.enormity - the quality of extreme wickedness
nefariousness, vileness, ugliness, wickedness - the quality of being wicked
4.enormity - an act of extreme wickedness
atrocity, inhumanity - an act of atrocious cruelty

enormity

noun
1. (Informal) hugeness, extent, magnitude, greatness, vastness, immensity, massiveness, enormousness, extensiveness He was appalled by the enormity of the task ahead of him.
3. atrocity, crime, horror, evil, outrage, disgrace, monstrosity, abomination, barbarity, villainy the horrific enormities perpetrated on the islanders

enormity

noun
1. The quality of passing all moral bounds:
3. A monstrous offense or evil:
Translations
ضَخامَه، جَسامَهفَظاعَه
afskyelighedenormt omfanguhyrlighed
roppant nagyság
gífurleg stærîódæîisverk
obludnosť
alçaklıkazametbüyüklükiğrençlik

enormity

[ɪˈnɔːmɪtɪ] N [of task] → enormidad f; [of crime, action] → gravedad f

enormity

[ɪˈnɔːrmɪti] n
(= scale) [task, problem, crime, decision] → énormité f
(= unacceptable action) → énormité f

enormity

n
no pl (of action, offence)ungeheures Ausmaß
(of crime)Ungeheuerlichkeit f

enormity

[ɪˈnɔːmɪtɪ] n (of crime, action) → atrocità f inv; (of problem) → gravità

enormous

(iˈnoːməs) adjective
very large. The new building is enormous; We had an enormous lunch.
eˈnormousness noun
eˈnormity noun
1. great wickedness.
2. hugeness.
References in classic literature ?
He then caused all the duennas of the palace, those that are here present, to be brought before him; and after having dwelt upon the enormity of our offence, and denounced duennas, their characters, their evil ways and worse intrigues, laying to the charge of all what I alone was guilty of, he said he would not visit us with capital punishment, but with others of a slow nature which would be in effect civil death for ever; and the very instant he ceased speaking we all felt the pores of our faces opening, and pricking us, as if with the points of needles.
My quarters would have been suitable for housing the greatest of earthly emperors, but to these queer creatures nothing about a building appealed to them but its size and the enormity of its chambers; the larger the building, the more desirable; and so Tal Hajus occupied what must have been an enormous public building, the largest in the city, but entirely unfitted for residence purposes; the next largest was reserved for Lorquas Ptomel, the next for the jed of a lesser rank, and so on to the bottom of the list of five jeds.
Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an enormity, at so early an age.
No wonder that those who contemplated such a signal infraction of the rights of humanity should have sought to veil the enormity from the eyes of the world.
Lady Bertram did not think deeply, but, guided by Sir Thomas, she thought justly on all important points; and she saw, therefore, in all its enormity, what had happened, and neither endeavoured herself, nor required Fanny to advise her, to think little of guilt and infamy.
By some mysterious law of nature you invariably guess wrong, and are thereupon regarded by all the relatives and friends as a mixture of fool and knave, the enormity of alluding to a male babe as "she" being only equaled by the atrocity of referring to a female infant as "he".
The sensation of standing there, in that warm familiar room, and looking at her, and wishing her dead, was so strange, so fascinating and overmastering, that its enormity did not immediately strike him.
I wish my people to be impressed with the enormity of the crime, the determination to punish it, and the hopelessness of escape.
As for Draco's laws, they were published when the government was already established, and they have nothing particular in them worth mentioning, except their severity on account of the enormity of their punishments.
The horror of the situation came to him very slowly, and it is doubtful that he ever fully realized the enormity of his sorrow and the fearful responsibility that had devolved upon him with the care of that wee thing, his son, still a nursing babe.
I came to you that morning in order to understand the full enormity of my offence.
True, he had not even hinted at the enormity of the plot in which he was involving the old woman, but, as she had said, his stern commands for secrecy had told enough to arouse her suspicions, and with them her curiosity and cupidity.