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enormity
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enormity
as in:  enormity of the crime


They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.
William Golding  --  Lord of the Flies
  extreme wickedness

or more rarely (and considered incorrect by many):  enormousness (largeness)
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enormity enormities
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Samples:
  • They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.
    William Golding  --  Lord of the Flies
  • Did they realize the enormity of such an outrage?
    Harper Lee  --  Go Set a Watchman
  • Aspen’s green eyes grew wide for a second, taking in the enormity of that question.
    Kiera Cass  --  The Elite
  • Luke drew a long breath, finally coming to terms with the enormity of it all.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Longest Ride

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  • I also remembered the fear of my mother finding that note surpassing any other worry about the enormity of knowing, without a doubt, that I loved Aspen.
    Kiera Cass  --  The One
  • "Now," she said, sensing the enormity of the task facing her, "I had to find my family in all of this."
    Jim Murphy  --  The Great Fire
  • He thought about following their car as they drove away, but suddenly the weight of what had happened, the enormity of the situation, hit him hard.
    Holly Goldberg Sloan  --  Counting by 7s
  • There are no clouds and the mountains, McKinley on the right, tower over us in dazzling white enormity, filling the sky while the sun warms our backs and the dogs settle into running.
    Gary Paulsen  --  Woodsong
  • He saw her gaze go to his rows of ribbons, and her eyes widened as they took in the enormity of his combat experience and military achievement.
    David Baldacci  --  Zero Day
  • And even though I know that Alex still does it sometimes, the enormity of the risk hasn’t really hit me until now.
    Lauren Oliver  --  Delirium

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  • Certainly he had not been entirely unaware of the camps; perhaps, Sophie thought, the enormity of their existence had been for Nathan, as for so many Americans, part of a drama too far away, too abstract, too foreign (and thus too hard to comprehend) to register fully on the mind.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • The pause was only long enough for them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke would be.
    William Golding  --  Lord of the Flies
  • It hit me again, the enormity of what I had done that winter and that following summer.
    Khaled Hosseini  --  The Kite Runner
  • Now that he had time to think of it, his son’s crime stood out in its stark enormity.
    Chinua Achebe  --  Things Fall Apart
  • She knew full well the enormity of her offense, but because her desires were stronger than the code she was breaking, she persisted in breaking it.
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Alaska has long been a magnet for dreamers and misfits, people who think the unsullied enormity of the Last Frontier will patch all the holes in their lives.
    Jon Krakauer  --  Into the Wild
  • They sat, then, they sat beside each other, smelling of each other, faces flushed pink, both of them stunned, both of them speechless before the enormity of what had just hap pened.
    Khaled Hosseini  --  A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • The enormity of it still shocked Clary, and, she suspected, Jace as well.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Fallen Angels
  • I set my wineglass on the table as the enormity of this sinks in.
    Sara Gruen  --  Water for Elephants
  • Topsy always made great capital of her own sins and enormities, evidently considering them as something peculiarly distinguishing.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe  --  Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • He was seeing the enormity of the smallness of the enemy who was destroying the world.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • Undiluted fear ripped through my stomach as the enormity of what I was about to do hit me.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Breaking Dawn
  • The enormity of his decision not to race Voldemort to the wand still scared Harry.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • For the first time, the enormity of Hrothgar’s action struck Eragon.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • No, some other method of punishment must be found to bring Anne to a proper realization of the enormity of her offense.
    Lucy Maud Montgomery  --  Anne Of Green Gables
  • My mates stared at me, mystified and scared, and the enormity of my problems suddenly came crashing down on me.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Throne of Fire
  • His size, of course, you saw first: the height, the big wrists, the enormity of his mere presence.
    Sarah Dessen  --  Just Listen
  • The blast of air had also cleared away a patch of fog, and for the first time, Sophie realized the enormity of what they were facing.
    Micheal Scott  --  The Alchemyst
  • The enormity of it, the weight of the line, was a mass too great to express.
    Michael Shaara  --  The Killer Angels
  • Nately was appalled and bewildered by the abominable old man’s inability to perceive the enormity of his offence.
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
  • I woke to the enormity of my sin; I saw the true light at last, and I fell on my knees and confessed to God and asked His guidance and received it.
    William Faulkner  --  As I Lay Dying
  • She heard the soft muffled sound of his footsteps dying away down the long hall, and the complete enormity of her actions came over her.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • But when a creature pretending to reason could be capable of such enormities, he dreaded lest the corruption of that faculty might be worse than brutality itself.
    Jonathan Swift  --  Gulliver’s Travels
  • I never dreamed of any enormity greater than I have committed.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • I had an obscure feeling that all was not over and that he would still commit some signal crime, which by its enormity should almost efface the recollection of the past.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • No sophistry of Southerners could blind her to its enormity.
    Harriet Jacobs  --  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • There was a new, businesslike feel to the atmosphere around them, and it pulled me back into the enormity of what was coming.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Eclipse
  • But the sermon over, he none the less tranquilly resumed his course of seditions and enormities.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • But I had to let you know the size of what we’re dealing with, the enormity, the importance.
    James Patterson  --  The Angel Experiment
  • The spar-hawk’s voice broke at the enormity of his confession.
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • Afterward…There were other things, hideous, important things behind her and rising vaguely in her mind, but first, above all, just one thing: to see him again… She came to the quarry and she looked slowly, carefully, stupidly about her, stupidly because the enormity of what she saw would not penetrate her brain: she saw at once that he was not there.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • Without understanding her sensations, Cosette was conscious that she was seized upon by that black enormity of nature; it was no longer terror alone which was gaining possession of her; it was something more terrible even than terror; she shivered.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • The enormity of his decision frightened him.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  Winter Dreams
  • The enormity of what she had seen was now topped by the further enormity of involving the police.
    Julia Alvarez  --  How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
  • Beside the savage desire within him to realize the enormities which he brooded on nothing was sacred.
    James Joyce  --  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • The world is growing too ethereal and spiritual to bear these enormities a great while longer.
    Nathaniel Hawthorne  --  The House of the Seven Gables
  • And it is the more to be lamented, because there is reason to suppose as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this licentiousness of behaviour in your daughter has proceeded from a faulty degree of indulgence; though, at the same time, for the consolation of yourself and Mrs. Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an enormity, at so early an age.
    Jane Austen  --  Pride and Prejudice
  • Don’t you see the enormity of what you’ve done?
    Don DeLillo  --  White Noise
  • "And what a literary enormity this is," she said, as she glanced into the pages of Solomon’s Song.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Jude the Obscure
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Associated words [difficulty]:   enormity [3]
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