The word enormity is used an awful lot more than it should be. In most cases, instead of its correct usage, to describe something bad of extreme seriousness – something like a tsunami, an earthquake, a deadly virus sweeping the world. Instead, it’s just used for something, well, enormous. Enormousness, even. The thing, is, we have a word for enormousness already. The beauty of the English language is in its variety and scope – so we have ranges of words for very precise shades of meaning.
It’s like your Mum used to say as she threaded those mittens on a string down your winter coat sleeves: don’t put your coat on indoors or you won’t get the benefit. Over-use enormity and you’ll be stuck for a word to use when something REALLY big and bad happens.
Be careful! is a series of posts about words that are misused commonly – but really shouldn’t be. It’s not a new variant of meaning, it’s an error that gets duplicated as people see the word misused and copy it.