noun, plural e·nor·mi·ties

  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. greatness of size, scope, extent, or influence; immensity: The enormity of such an act of generosity is staggering.

noun plural -ties

  1. the quality or character of being outrageous; extreme wickedness
  2. an act of great wickedness; atrocity
  3. informal vastness of size or extent

late 15c., “transgression, crime, irregularity,” from Old French énormité “extravagance, enormity, atrocity, heinous sin,” from Latin enormitatem (nominative enormitas) “hugeness, vastness, irregularity,” from enormis (see enormous). Meaning “extreme wickedness” in English attested from 1560s; sense of “hugeness” (1792) is etymological but probably best avoided to prevent misunderstanding.

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