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  • Noun

enormity

i-NAWR-mi-tee

Context
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The sheer enormity or great evil of the conflict in Darfur is almost unimaginable: many hundreds of thousands have been brutally killed so far. The enormity and horrors of the crimes committed become clear when one visits the refugee camps, where one finds young children and women who have lost all hope. Many journalists who visit Darfur come back shocked and depressed because they are totally unprepared for the enormity or extreme moral offensiveness of the human tragedy they have witnessed.

Quiz: What is the enormity of a situation?

  • The feelings of shock and sadness people feel from it.
  • The things that combine to cause the situation.
  • The moral outrage and extreme wickedness of it.
Definition

Memory Hook
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Enormous Pity One can feel enormous pity for the horrifying enormity of a catastrophe in which many thousands of people have pointlessly died.

Examples
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  • The enormity of the event was such that Mourinho’s furrowed brow featured on the front page of most daily newspapers, and even provoked the British Prime Minister to comment. —CNN
  • Based solely on a numerical comparison with the enormity of the horror in Europe, the experience of Jews in Arab lands during the war barely deserves mention and the frequent recitation of statistics inevitably invites such judgment. —NPR
  • The enormity of the event was such that Mourinho’s furrowed brow featured on the front page of most daily newspapers, and even provoked the British Prime Minister to comment. —Sports Illustrated

Word Ingredients
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e- out of, from
norm carpenter's square, pattern, standard
-ity state or quality

Enormity is, at core, the “state or quality” of being “out of a pattern or standard” of acceptable conduct, thus going into an area that is beyond normal or acceptable “patterns” or “standards” of the way things should be.

Word Constellation
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Enormity