Sunday, February 3, 2008

How do you deal with the enormity of it all?

Enormity...A question posed by a Fox Reporter to a Patriots player. Perhaps Fox is reporting fairly.

(ĭ-nôr'mĭ-tē) pronunciation

n., pl. -ties.

1. The quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.
2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.
3. Usage Problem. Great size; immensity: “Beyond that, [Russia's] sheer enormity offered a defense against invaders that no European nation enjoyed” (W. Bruce Lincoln).

[French énormité, from Old French, from Latin ēnormitās, from ēnormis, unusual, enormous. See enormous.]

USAGE NOTE Enormity is frequently used to refer simply to the property of being great in size or extent, but many would prefer that enormousness (or a synonym such as immensity) be used for this general sense and that enormity be limited to situations that demand a negative moral judgment, as in Not until the war ended and journalists were able to enter Cambodia did the world really become aware of the enormity of Pol Pot's oppression. Fifty-nine percent of the Usage Panel rejects the use of enormity as a synonym for immensity in the sentence At that point the engineers sat down to design an entirely new viaduct, apparently undaunted by the enormity of their task. This distinction between enormity and enormousness has not always existed historically, but nowadays many observe it. Writers who ignore the distinction, as in the enormity of the President's election victory or the enormity of her inheritance, may find that their words have cast unintended aspersions or evoked unexpected laughter.

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