American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.
- n. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.
- n. Usage Problem Great size; immensity: "Beyond that, [Russia's] sheer enormity offered a defense against invaders that no European nation enjoyed” ( W. Bruce Lincoln).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The state or quality of being enormous, immoderate, or extreme; atrociousness; vastness: in a bad sense: as, the enormity of his offense.
- n. Enormousness; immensity: without derogatory implication.
- n. That which surpasses endurable limits, or is immoderate, extreme, or outrageous; a very grave offense against order, right, or decency; atrocious crime; an atrocity.
- n. Synonyms and Enormity, Enormousness. Enormousness is strictly limited to vastness in size; enormity, to vastness in atrocity, baseness, etc.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The state or quality of exceeding a measure or rule, or of being immoderate, monstrous, or outrageous.
- n. That which is enormous; especially, an exceeding offense against order, right, or decency; an atrocious crime; flagitious villainy; an atrocity.
- n. the quality of being outrageous
- n. an act of extreme wickedness
- n. the quality of extreme wickedness
- n. vastness of size or extent
- From Middle French énormité, from Latin ēnormitātem, from ēnormis. (Wiktionary)
- French énormité, from Old French, from Latin ēnormitās, from ēnormis, unusual, enormous; see enormous. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“He thanks many members of his campaign, along with his enormous army of volunteers, and he warns supporters about what he calls the enormity of the tasks at hand that now face the U.S.”
“Finally, and for the avoidance of doubt, the man who "misspoke" the word enormity is to be referred to as President-Elect Obama until his inauguration on 20 January.”
“But the greatest number of letters I've received, by far, have been about my seemingly criminal use of the word enormity to mean 'enormous'.”
“Sullivan gets bonus points for employing the phrase "mindless Rovianism" and for using the word enormity properly.”
“Slavery I must condemn with my whole soul; but here I need only borrow the language of slaveholders; nor would it accord with my habits or my sense of justice to exhibit them as the impersonation of the institution -- Jefferson calls it the "enormity" -- which they cherish.”
“Such is commonly the fate of temporary wit, levelled at some prevailing enormity, which is not of a general nature, but only subsists for a while.”
“The former judge at India's top court, who was given the task on Dec. 9 and was to present a report within four weeks, said the "enormity" of the work led to the delay.”
“Showing others the weak points of Muslims" is a serious sin, an "enormity" according to the Sunni classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law, entitled Reliance of the Traveler.”
“The only thing that bugged me was his use of "enormity" for "immensity.”
“I think he did (he also misused the word "enormity," which may be of interest to my fellow grammar freaks.)”
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