Discussion:
An evanescent enormity?
(too old to reply)
Paul Wolff
2021-01-27 22:46:27 UTC
Permalink
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
says:
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."

Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
--
Paul
Lewis
2021-01-27 23:26:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
That is not the meaning of enormity I know. This is the only use I am
familiar with, and is the primary meaning.

1 (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent
of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search
disclosed the full enormity of the crime.

• (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the
enormity of the task.

the phrase "or morally wrong" does not exclude the great scale of something
that is bad being something that has no moral weight.

There is a usage note: "Today, however, a more neutral sense as a
synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity
of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing
that enormity in its original sense meant ‘an extreme wickedness’ and
should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a
negative moral judgment is implied. Nevertheless, the sense of 'great
size' is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally
relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or
achievement."
--
You had one job to do, and you failed. Now try again and do not return until
you have acquire sufficient TACOS!
Sam Plusnet
2021-01-28 01:38:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
That is not the meaning of enormity I know. This is the only use I am
familiar with, and is the primary meaning.
1 (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent
of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search
disclosed the full enormity of the crime.
• (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the
enormity of the task.
the phrase "or morally wrong" does not exclude the great scale of something
that is bad being something that has no moral weight.
There is a usage note: "Today, however, a more neutral sense as a
synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity
of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing
that enormity in its original sense meant ‘an extreme wickedness’ and
should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a
negative moral judgment is implied. Nevertheless, the sense of 'great
size' is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally
relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or
achievement."
I don't know which source you're quoting "There is a usage note..."

I accept that it is today often used "as a synonym for for hugeness or
immensity" - but a commonly made mistake is still a mistake.

In an open letter from the two leading figures in the Anglican church I
would expect a better understanding of English. It shouldn't be too
hard to make their meaning clear without adding confusion.

What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
--
Sam Plusnet
Wales, UK
Ross Clark
2021-01-28 02:41:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
         In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
         Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
         100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
         to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
That is not the meaning of enormity I know. This is the only use I am
familiar with, and is the primary meaning.
1 (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent
of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search
disclosed the full enormity of the crime.
• (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the
enormity of the task.
the phrase "or morally wrong" does not exclude the great scale of something
that is bad being something that has no moral weight.
There is a usage note: "Today, however, a more neutral sense as a
synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity
of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing
that enormity in its original sense meant ‘an extreme wickedness’ and
should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a
negative moral judgment is implied. Nevertheless, the sense of 'great
size' is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally
relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or
achievement."
I don't know which source you're quoting "There is a usage note..."
I accept that it is today often used "as a synonym for for hugeness or
immensity" - but a commonly made mistake is still a mistake.
In other words, your position is that of the OED editors ca.1891:

3. a. Excess in magnitude; hugeness, vastness. Obsolete; recent examples
might perhaps be found, but the use is now regarded as incorrect.

Doesn't matter if people persist in using it in that sense (well
attested in the late 18th-early 19th century) -- it's wrong wrong wrong,
eh? And if people have been calling it "wrong" for more than a century,
well it just must be, eh?

I wonder who first decided it was wrong?
One of those innocents who imagine that no word should have more than
one meaning?
Post by Sam Plusnet
In an open letter from the two leading figures in the Anglican church I
would expect a better understanding of English.  It shouldn't be too
hard to make their meaning clear without adding confusion.
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
Peter T. Daniels
2021-01-28 04:24:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
That is not the meaning of enormity I know. This is the only use I am
familiar with, and is the primary meaning.
1 (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent
of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search
disclosed the full enormity of the crime.
• (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the
enormity of the task.
the phrase "or morally wrong" does not exclude the great scale of something
that is bad being something that has no moral weight.
There is a usage note: "Today, however, a more neutral sense as a
synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity
of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing
that enormity in its original sense meant ‘an extreme wickedness’ and
should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a
negative moral judgment is implied. Nevertheless, the sense of 'great
size' is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally
relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or
achievement."
I don't know which source you're quoting "There is a usage note..."
Looks like a M-W usage note rather than an AHD usage note. But
people should identify their sources.
Post by Sam Plusnet
I accept that it is today often used "as a synonym for for hugeness or
immensity" - but a commonly made mistake is still a mistake.
In an open letter from the two leading figures in the Anglican church I
would expect a better understanding of English. It shouldn't be too
hard to make their meaning clear without adding confusion.
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
That seems right. Top clergy need to be especially circumspect,
and if they chose a word that most of their hearers will interpret
as "enormousness," nonetheless those whom they're really aiming
at will understand the explicit rebuke.

It's a time-honored preaching technique. You may have a message
intended for a certain individual in your congregation, but it's worded
in such a way as to be edifying for all. There's a respectable model:
the parables of Jesus.
Dingbat
2021-01-29 07:00:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
That is not the meaning of enormity I know. This is the only use I am
familiar with, and is the primary meaning.
1 (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent
of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search
disclosed the full enormity of the crime.
• (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the
enormity of the task.
the phrase "or morally wrong" does not exclude the great scale of something
that is bad being something that has no moral weight.
There is a usage note: "Today, however, a more neutral sense as a
synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity
of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing
that enormity in its original sense meant ‘an extreme wickedness’ and
should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a
negative moral judgment is implied. Nevertheless, the sense of 'great
size' is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally
relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or
achievement."
I don't know which source you're quoting "There is a usage note..."
Looks like a M-W usage note rather than an AHD usage note. But
people should identify their sources.
Post by Sam Plusnet
I accept that it is today often used "as a synonym for for hugeness or
immensity" - but a commonly made mistake is still a mistake.
In an open letter from the two leading figures in the Anglican church I
would expect a better understanding of English. It shouldn't be too
hard to make their meaning clear without adding confusion.
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
That seems right. Top clergy need to be especially circumspect,
and if they chose a word that most of their hearers will interpret
as "enormousness," nonetheless those whom they're really aiming
at will understand the explicit rebuke.
It's a time-honored preaching technique. You may have a message
intended for a certain individual in your congregation, but it's worded
the parables of Jesus.
The rebuke having cut them to the quick, will the intended recipients quicken* their response to the pandemic.
* quicken in the sense of "bring alive"
Paul Wolff
2021-01-29 15:56:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
[Actually, it was The Church Times, which the FT article I'd
been reading had linked to, but never mind.]
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Wolff
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
That is not the meaning of enormity I know. This is the only use I am
familiar with, and is the primary meaning.
1 (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent
of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search
disclosed the full enormity of the crime.
• (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the
enormity of the task.
the phrase "or morally wrong" does not exclude the great scale of something
that is bad being something that has no moral weight.
There is a usage note: "Today, however, a more neutral sense as a
synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity
of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing
that enormity in its original sense meant ‘an extreme wickedness’ and
should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a
negative moral judgment is implied. Nevertheless, the sense of 'great
size' is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally
relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or
achievement."
I don't know which source you're quoting "There is a usage note..."
Looks like a M-W usage note rather than an AHD usage note. But
people should identify their sources.
Post by Sam Plusnet
I accept that it is today often used "as a synonym for for hugeness or
immensity" - but a commonly made mistake is still a mistake.
In an open letter from the two leading figures in the Anglican church I
would expect a better understanding of English. It shouldn't be too
hard to make their meaning clear without adding confusion.
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
That seems right. Top clergy need to be especially circumspect,
and if they chose a word that most of their hearers will interpret
as "enormousness," nonetheless those whom they're really aiming
at will understand the explicit rebuke.
It's a time-honored preaching technique. You may have a message
intended for a certain individual in your congregation, but it's worded
the parables of Jesus.
Perhaps imputing moral failings to government ministers was indeed the
message, and that would answer my final question: What is it exactly
that we think their graces want us to reflect upon?
Thank you.
--
Paul
Sam Plusnet
2021-01-29 19:54:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Sam Plusnet
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
That seems right. Top clergy need to be especially circumspect,
and if they chose a word that most of their hearers will interpret
as "enormousness," nonetheless those whom they're really aiming
at will understand the explicit rebuke.
It's a time-honored preaching technique. You may have a message
intended for a certain individual in your congregation, but it's worded
the parables of Jesus.
Perhaps imputing moral failings to government ministers was indeed the
message, and that would answer my final question: What is it exactly
that we think their graces want us to reflect upon?
Thank you.
In other situations, the Arch-bish of C[1] hasn't been too worried about
criticising the UK government in clear direct language.

[1] I think the current model has done so, earlier models certainly have.
--
Sam Plusnet
Wales, UK
Paul Wolff
2021-01-29 21:14:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Paul Wolff
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Sam Plusnet
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
That seems right. Top clergy need to be especially circumspect,
and if they chose a word that most of their hearers will interpret
as "enormousness," nonetheless those whom they're really aiming
at will understand the explicit rebuke.
It's a time-honored preaching technique. You may have a message
intended for a certain individual in your congregation, but it's worded
the parables of Jesus.
Perhaps imputing moral failings to government ministers was indeed the
message, and that would answer my final question: What is it exactly
that we think their graces want us to reflect upon?
Thank you.
In other situations, the Arch-bish of C[1] hasn't been too worried
about criticising the UK government in clear direct language.
[1] I think the current model has done so, earlier models certainly have.
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer didn't get on with the government under Mary
Tudor, and she had him burnt at the stake for his opinions. He was
probably de-frocked as ABofC a short time before ignition, or he'd have
been the only ABoC burnt alive by his monarch. Henry II claimed not to
have intended the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, but there was a definite
spat.

Fast forward a bit, and ArchBish Cosmo Lang was pretty well in bed with
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin when Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis
Simpson - Lang primed the PM with arguments, by all accounts. So he was
clear and direct too, but this time driving the government onwards.

Interestingly, Stanley Baldwin described the new King thus:
"He is an abnormal being: half child, half genius. . . it is as
though two or three cells in his brain had remained entirely
undeveloped, whilst the rest of him is a mature man. He is not a
thinker. He takes his ideas from the daily press instead of
thinking things out for himself . . . no serious reading: none
at all."

Does that remind anyone of any other head of state who has recently been
abdicated, as it were?
--
Paul
Peter T. Daniels
2021-01-29 21:48:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Paul Wolff
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Sam Plusnet
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
That seems right. Top clergy need to be especially circumspect,
and if they chose a word that most of their hearers will interpret
as "enormousness," nonetheless those whom they're really aiming
at will understand the explicit rebuke.
It's a time-honored preaching technique. You may have a message
intended for a certain individual in your congregation, but it's worded
the parables of Jesus.
Perhaps imputing moral failings to government ministers was indeed the
message, and that would answer my final question: What is it exactly
that we think their graces want us to reflect upon?
Thank you.
In other situations, the Arch-bish of C[1] hasn't been too worried
about criticising the UK government in clear direct language.
[1] I think the current model has done so, earlier models certainly have.
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer didn't get on with the government under Mary
Tudor, and she had him burnt at the stake for his opinions. He was
probably de-frocked as ABofC a short time before ignition, or he'd have
been the only ABoC burnt alive by his monarch. Henry II claimed not to
have intended the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, but there was a definite
spat.
Fast forward a bit, and ArchBish Cosmo Lang was pretty well in bed with
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin when Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis
Simpson - Lang primed the PM with arguments, by all accounts. So he was
clear and direct too, but this time driving the government onwards.
"He is an abnormal being: half child, half genius. . . it is as
though two or three cells in his brain had remained entirely
undeveloped, whilst the rest of him is a mature man. He is not a
thinker. He takes his ideas from the daily press instead of
thinking things out for himself . . . no serious reading: none
at all."
Does that remind anyone of any other head of state who has recently been
abdicated, as it were?
Nixon, maybe? The "half genius" doesn't seem to apply to any of the
candidates you might be thinking of.
Peter Moylan
2021-01-30 02:24:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
"He is an abnormal being: half child, half genius. . . it is as
though two or three cells in his brain had remained entirely
undeveloped, whilst the rest of him is a mature man. He is not a
thinker. He takes his ideas from the daily press instead of
thinking things out for himself . . . no serious reading: none
at all."
Does that remind anyone of any other head of state who has recently been
abdicated, as it were?
Apart from the "half genius", it describes three leaders I can think of.
Two of them are still in power.
--
Peter Moylan Newcastle, NSW
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2021-01-30 06:54:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Paul Wolff
"He is an abnormal being: half child, half genius. . . it is as
though two or three cells in his brain had remained entirely
undeveloped, whilst the rest of him is a mature man. He is not a
thinker. He takes his ideas from the daily press instead of
thinking things out for himself . . . no serious reading: none
at all."
Does that remind anyone of any other head of state who has recently been
abdicated, as it were?
Apart from the "half genius", it describes three leaders I can think of.
Two of them are still in power.
You beat me to it.
--
Athel -- British, living in France for 34 years
Arindam Banerjee
2021-01-30 07:47:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Paul Wolff
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Sam Plusnet
What confusion?
I started to wonder if the word choice was an indirect way of
castigating the (UK) government for their moral failures in dealing with
this situation.
That seems right. Top clergy need to be especially circumspect,
and if they chose a word that most of their hearers will interpret
as "enormousness," nonetheless those whom they're really aiming
at will understand the explicit rebuke.
It's a time-honored preaching technique. You may have a message
intended for a certain individual in your congregation, but it's worded
the parables of Jesus.
Perhaps imputing moral failings to government ministers was indeed the
message, and that would answer my final question: What is it exactly
that we think their graces want us to reflect upon?
Thank you.
In other situations, the Arch-bish of C[1] hasn't been too worried
about criticising the UK government in clear direct language.
[1] I think the current model has done so, earlier models certainly have.
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer didn't get on with the government under Mary
Tudor, and she had him burnt at the stake for his opinions. He was
probably de-frocked as ABofC a short time before ignition, or he'd have
been the only ABoC burnt alive by his monarch. Henry II claimed not to
have intended the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, but there was a definite
spat.
Fast forward a bit, and ArchBish Cosmo Lang was pretty well in bed with
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin when Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis
Simpson - Lang primed the PM with arguments, by all accounts. So he was
clear and direct too, but this time driving the government onwards.
"He is an abnormal being: half child, half genius. . . it is as
though two or three cells in his brain had remained entirely
undeveloped, whilst the rest of him is a mature man. He is not a
thinker. He takes his ideas from the daily press instead of
thinking things out for himself . . . no serious reading: none
at all."
He probably wanted to describe the king as "half-child, half-devil" but
that description was already taken to describe natives.
Genius is second on the scale, for hatred, so the substitution.
Post by Paul Wolff
Does that remind anyone of any other head of state who has recently been
abdicated, as it were?
--
Paul
Sam Plusnet
2021-01-30 19:10:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Henry II claimed not to
have intended the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, but there was a definite
spat.
Enough for an impeachment, but not a conviction?
--
Sam Plusnet
Wales, UK
Lewis
2021-01-28 04:35:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Plusnet
Post by Lewis
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
That is not the meaning of enormity I know. This is the only use I am
familiar with, and is the primary meaning.
1 (the enormity of) the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent
of something perceived as bad or morally wrong: a thorough search
disclosed the full enormity of the crime.
• (in neutral use) large size or scale: I began to get a sense of the
enormity of the task.
the phrase "or morally wrong" does not exclude the great scale of something
that is bad being something that has no moral weight.
There is a usage note: "Today, however, a more neutral sense as a
synonym for hugeness or immensity, as in he soon discovered the enormity
of the task, is common. Some people regard this use as wrong, arguing
that enormity in its original sense meant ‘an extreme wickedness’ and
should therefore continue to be used only of contexts in which a
negative moral judgment is implied. Nevertheless, the sense of 'great
size' is now broadly accepted in standard English, although it generally
relates to something difficult, such as a task, challenge, or
achievement."
I don't know which source you're quoting "There is a usage note..."
The one the definition came from. ODE, probably. Possibly NOAD.
Post by Sam Plusnet
I accept that it is today often used "as a synonym for for hugeness or
immensity" - but a commonly made mistake is still a mistake.
That is simply not how language works. Never has, doesn't now, never
will.
Post by Sam Plusnet
In an open letter from the two leading figures in the Anglican church I
would expect a better understanding of English.
They understand English just fine.
--
"Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him an
he's warm for the rest of his life."
Arindam Banerjee
2021-01-28 00:19:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Upon reflection, down under it is an unnecessary inconvenience.
That because correct steps were taken by all governments save ours in Victoria.
Maybe in U.K. they could reflect upon why such steps were not taken.
Post by Paul Wolff
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
What Devil did this to us?
Post by Paul Wolff
--
Paul
Tony Cooper
2021-01-28 01:08:49 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 27 Jan 2021 22:46:27 +0000, Paul Wolff
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
Hmmm...I'm sure I've seen sentences that contain "the enormity of the
problem" where the problem can be anything of great magnitude as a
problem.

The pandemic certainly qualifies as a problem of great magnitude.
--
Tony Cooper Orlando Florida
Snidely
2021-01-28 07:25:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
Pish. What do Welsh parfumers have to do with a hundred thousand
deaths?

(California has only about the 1/3 of that toll; Texas is almost as
high, despite a smaller population (deaths per 100K: T 119, C 94), even
with California having that tremendous ramp after Halloween.)

/dps
--
"First thing in the morning, before I have coffee, I read the obits, If
I'm not in it, I'll have breakfast." -- Carl Reiner, to CBS News in
2015.
Dingbat
2021-01-29 06:52:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
--
Then, are they left-handedly suggesting reflection on the enormity of the fecklessness of the authorities who allowed it to get to that number?
Paul Wolff
2021-01-29 15:57:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dingbat
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of the
Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I can't quite
understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable source of facts,
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't see
'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I understand it
implies a moral or legal or social transgression; but I don't see a
pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What is it exactly that we
think their graces want us to reflect upon?
--
Then, are they left-handedly suggesting reflection on the enormity of
the fecklessness of the authorities who allowed it to get to that
number?
Could well be.
--
Paul
HVS
2021-01-29 16:25:59 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 28 Jan 2021, at 22:52:27, Dingbat
Post by Dingbat
Post by Paul Wolff
Yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, top twigs of
the Episcopalian tree, issued an interesting statement which I
can't quite understand. The Financial Times, a pretty reliable
In an open letter to the nation, issued on Tuesday, the
Archbishops write: "As we reach the terrible milestone of
100,000 deaths from Covid-19, we invite everyone in our nation
to pause as we reflect on the enormity of this pandemic."
Well now, my lord bishops, I am reflecting like mad, and I don't
see 'enormity' as meaningful for a disease. 'Enormity' as I
understand it implies a moral or legal or social transgression;
but I don't see a pandemic as having those sorts of agency. What
is it exactly that we think their graces want us to reflect
upon? --
Then, are they left-handedly suggesting reflection on the
enormity of the fecklessness of the authorities who allowed it to
get to that number?
I file the use of "enormity" as a synonym for "huge" along with the
mistaken uses of "disinterested", "fulsome", and "epicentre" as
entirely lost causes.

Since I refuse to use them with the wrong sense, they're pretty well
skunked for me.
--
Cheers,
Harvey
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