[ ih-nawr-mi-tee ]
/ ɪˈnɔr mɪ ti /
Save This Word!

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.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of enormity

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English enormite, from Middle French, from Latin ēnormitās; see enorm, -ty2
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.
enormity , enormousness (see confusables note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for 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
C15: from Old French enormite, from Late Latin ēnormitās hugeness; see enormous
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
Learning At Home Just Got Easier!