From Latin prefix e- (out of), + grex (flock), + English adjective suffix -ous, from Latin suffix -osus (full of); reflecting the positive connotations of "standing out from the flock".



egregious (comparative more egregious, superlative most egregious)

  1. Exceptional, conspicuous, outstanding, most usually in a negative fashion.
    The student has made egregious errors on the examination.
    • 16thC, Christopher Marlowe, Ignoto,
      I cannot cross my arms, or sigh "Ah me," / "Ah me forlorn!" egregious foppery! / I cannot buss thy fill, play with thy hair, / Swearing by Jove, "Thou art most debonnaire!"
    • c1605, William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, Act 2, Scene 3,
      My lord, you give me most egregious indignity.
    • 22 March 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Hunger Games[1]
      When the goal is simply to be as faithful as possible to the material—as if a movie were a marriage, and a rights contract the vow—the best result is a skillful abridgment, one that hits all the important marks without losing anything egregious.
  2. Outrageously bad; shocking.

Usage notesEdit

The negative meaning arose in the late 16th century, probably originating in sarcasm. Before that, it meant outstanding in a good way. Webster also gives “distinguished” as an archaic form, and notes that its present form often has an unpleasant connotation (e.g., "an egregious error"). It generally precedes such epithets as “rogue,” “rascal,” "ass," “blunderer”.


Related termsEdit

Last modified on 4 April 2014, at 09:52