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enormity

[ ih-nawr-mi-tee ]
/ ɪˈnɔr mɪ ti /
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noun, plural e·nor·mi·ties
outrageous or heinous character; atrociousness: the enormity of war crimes.
something outrageous or heinous, as an offense: The bombing of the defenseless population was an enormity beyond belief.
greatness of size, scope, extent, or influence; immensity:The enormity of such an act of generosity is staggering.
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Origin of enormity

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English enormite, from Middle French, from Latin ēnormitās; see enorm, -ty2

words often confused with enormity

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.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH enormity

enormity , enormousness (see confusables note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use enormity in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for enormity

enormity
/ (ɪˈnɔːmɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties
the quality or character of being outrageous; extreme wickedness
an act of great wickedness; atrocity
informal vastness of size or extent

Word Origin for enormity

C15: from Old French enormite, from Late Latin ēnormitās hugeness; see enormous

usage for enormity

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)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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