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 wickedness" in English attested from 1560s; sense of "hugeness" (1792) is etymological but probably best avoided to prevent misunderstanding.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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 — 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,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • 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 — [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

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