“’Enormity,’ to save you the trouble of looking it up, does not mean greatness size wise. It means ‘excessive wickedness.’ Such language suits the purposes of our new president, with the apparent consent of the American people. God help us.” — Ben Manring, letter in The Indianapolis Star, 8 Nov. 2008
About the Word:
In 2008 Barack Obama used the word enormity to mean "great size" a number of times in his speeches. The apparent misuse of this word appalled many people who hold sacrosanct the notion that enormity must only be used to describe things of great wickedness.
Of course, Obama was not the first person to use enormity to mean ‘largeness’; the reason it bothers people is that many people use it in this way. In fact, we have been using enormity to mean enormousness for almost 400 years now (Thomas Eliot used it this way back in 1532).
: a shocking, evil, or immoral act
: great evil or wickedness
: great size