Definition of flagitious
: marked by scandalous crime or vice : villainous
flagitious was our Word of the Day on 06/13/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Flagitious derives from the Latin noun flagitium, meaning "shameful thing," and is akin to the Latin noun flagrum, meaning "whip." "Flagrum" is also the source of "flagellate" ("to whip" or "to scourge"), but despite the superficial resemblance it is not the source of flagrant, meaning "conspicuously bad." "Flagrant" and its cousins derive instead from Latin flagrare, meaning "to burn." "Flagitious" first appeared in the late 14th century, and it was originally applied to people who were horribly criminal or wicked. These days, it can also describe intangibles, such as actions ("flagitious promiscuity"), ideas ("a flagitious notion"), and principles ("flagitious motives").
Origin and Etymology of flagitious
Middle English flagicious, from Latin flagitiosus, from flagitium shameful thing
First Known Use: 14th century
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