I noticed quite a few commentators/pundits on the Olympics talking about the “enormity” of what some or other athlete had managed to do.

Well, the first definiton of enormity you’ll came across in most dictionaries is as “a great crime” or “monstrous wickedness.”

I don’t think any of the athletes were guilty of those (even any drug cheats about.)

It is only as the fourth definition that one of my dictionaries offers “hugeness” and the other “enormousness” – either of which words would have adequately suited the commentators’ purposes.

For myself I would prefer it if the word enormity were reserved for acts of extreme outrage; otherwise we will lose that sense (and perhaps even the sensibility) of it.

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