enormity


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, and therefore of being abnormally, monstrously, or outrageously evil
{

Newson . . . failed to perceive the enormity of Henchard's crime— Hardy

}
{

the sensation of standing there . . . and wishing her dead, was so strange, so fascinating and overmastering, that its enormity did not immediately strike him— Wharton

}
Enormousness applies to the state or quality of grossly exceeding comparable things in size or amount
{

the enormousness of a whale

}
{

the enormousness of the cost of war

}
{

covers 885 close-printed pages of thin paper. Readers who brave its enormousness are likely to emerge both crushed and impressed— Time

}
Enormity, but not enormousness, may also be used of an instance of what is characterized by enormity or monstrous wickedness
{

the enormities of which Caligula was guilty

}
Analogous words: outrageousness, atrociousness or atrocity, heinousness, monstrousness (see corresponding adjectives at OUTRAGEOUS): flagrancy, grossness, rankness (see corresponding adjectives at FLAGRANT)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 — ► 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 — /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.… …   Universalium

  • 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


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.