Old French flagitieux or Latin flāgitiōsus, both ultimately from flāgitium (shameful crime), related to flagrum (whip).[1]



flagitious (comparative more flagitious, superlative most flagitious)

  1. (literary) Guilty of terrible crimes; wicked, criminal.
    • 1716 Nov 7th, quoted from 1742, probably Alexander Pope, God's Revenge Against Punning, from Miscellanies, 3rd volume, page 227:
      This young Nobleman was not only a flagitious Punster himself, but was accessary to the Punning of others, by Consent, by Provocation, by Connivance, and by Defence of the Evil committed [] .
    • 2020 December 31, Kara Swisher, “Goodbye, Twitter Trump! And Other Predictions for 2021”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      As flagitious as he can be, Mr. Trump has been a legitimate news figure and, thus, what he had to say should be aired.
  2. (literary) Extremely brutal or wicked; heinous, monstrous.
    Synonyms: infamous, scandalous, nefarious, iniquitous
    • 1709, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Criticism, London: Printed for W. Lewis [], published 1711, OCLC 15810849, page 30:
      But if in Noble Minds ſome Dregs remain, / Not yet purg'd off, of Spleen and ſow'r Diſdain, / Diſcharge that Rage on more Provoking Crimes, / Nor fear a Dearth on theſe Flagitious Times.
    • 1959 (1985), Rex Stout, "Assault on a Brownstone", Death Times Three, page 186:
      As he entered he boomed: "Monstrous! Flagitious!"


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “flagitious”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.