egre·​gious | \ i-ˈgrē-jəs \

Definition of egregious

1 : conspicuous especially : conspicuously bad : flagrant egregious errors egregious padding of the evidence — Christopher Hitchens
2 archaic : distinguished

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from egregious

egregiously adverb
egregiousness noun

Did You Know?

Egregious derives from the Latin word egregius, meaning "distinguished" or "eminent." In its earliest English uses, egregious was a compliment to someone who had a remarkably good quality that placed him or her eminently above others. That's how English philosopher and theorist Thomas Hobbes used it in flattering a colleague when he remarked, "I am not so egregious a mathematician as you are." Since Hobbes' day, however, the meaning of the word has become noticeably less complimentary, possibly as a result of ironic use of its original sense.

Examples of egregious in a Sentence

… the public perception is that too many corporate executives have committed egregious breaches of trust by cooking the books, shading the truth, and enriching themselves with huge stock-option profits while shareholders suffered breathtaking losses. — John A. Byrne et al., Business Week, 6 May 2002 History cannot be rewritten, but some of its more egregious errors can be corrected—at least in part, at least symbolically.  … Or so assume a growing number of human-rights advocates. — Ellis Cose, Newsweek, 27 Aug. 2001 an egregious example of political bias the student's theme was marred by a number of egregious errors in spelling
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton supported the death penalty for drug kingpins in egregious cases. Carla K. Johnson, The Seattle Times, "Q&A: Feds tackle opioid epidemic, but is it helping?," 28 Jan. 2019 Or perhaps most egregious, the president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump—married to Eric! Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Trump’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," 27 Jan. 2019 In one particularly egregious case involving children with learning disabilities, students are being given painful electric shocks as a form of behavior modification. WSJ, "Derelict Hospitals Must Reform or Face Loss of Funds," 7 Jan. 2019 But perhaps most egregious was that Trump failed to give any warning to America’s Kurdish allies, who have been instrumental in pushing back ISIS on the ground in Syria. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Mattis’s resignation was a scathing indictment of Trump’s foreign policy," 21 Dec. 2018 And while North Korea has made a show of scaling back some of its nuclear activities, Pyongyang continues its disruptive behavior in the cyber realm and remains one of the world's most egregious human rights violators, starving its own people. Nicole Gaouette, CNN, "Trump's pledge to stop 'provocative' military exercises provokes alarm and confusion in Seoul and Washington," 12 June 2018 The new letter, lost because of an egregious filing error and finally discovered at London's Royal Society, was sent by Galileo to the Roman cleric Piero Dini after the more aggressive missive caused a stir in 1615. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Newfound Galileo Letter Suggests He Lied to Dupe the Church and Avoid Persecution," 25 Sep. 2018 Children are the raison d’être of The Handmaid’s Tale’s regime, the justification for all its most egregious actions. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Gilead in America," 20 June 2018 If that's the case, the Browns have a chance to correct their egregious error of trading that No. Dan Labbe,, "Browns trade of C.J. Smith to Seahawks nullified," 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'egregious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of egregious

circa 1534, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for egregious

Latin egregius, from e- + greg-, grex herd — more at gregarious

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about egregious

Listen to Our Podcast about egregious

Dictionary Entries near egregious



ego trip





Statistics for egregious

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for egregious

The first known use of egregious was circa 1534

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for egregious



English Language Learners Definition of egregious

formal : very bad and easily noticed


egre·​gious | \ i-ˈgrē-jəs \

Legal Definition of egregious

: extremely and conspicuously bad

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on egregious

What made you want to look up egregious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!