Word of the Week Wednesday: egregious


This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: egregious.

Egregious means notable our outstanding in a bad way.

Often, the word is used to simply mean, really bad.  This misses what I consider one of the more interesting aspects of the word’s meaning.

There are many perfectly good words for “really bad” (heinous for instance).

What stands out with this word is that it’s more than just bad, but so bad as to be noteworthy.

It comes from the Latin e- meaning out of or away from and grege from grex meaning flock or herd.  It originally just meant outstanding (from the hoi polloi) with the negative meaning being ironic.  Irony won out and it is now almost never used positively.

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About Dan Kingsepp, ACS, ALS
I'm starting this blog to share my thought on the use of the English language and my experiences as a Toastmaster.

One Response to Word of the Week Wednesday: egregious

  1. Pingback: Easy is a bad word « Write on the World

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