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The loose usage of ‘enormity’

The first thing I noticed when I opened the Jan. 22 Style section was the word “enormity” used incorrectly in the first sentence of the story “Their second dance”: “The enormity of the occasion met the enormity of the room.”

The context makes it clear that writers intended “enormity” to mean large or spacious. But “enormity” means atrociousness, horror, evil or wickedness, to name a few synonyms. Some dictionaries accept its use as being similar to “enormous,” although this is not the first definition.

I suggest using “large” or another synonym, to avoid this jarring use of “enormity” to describe a celebratory event. The fact that many people may use a word incorrectly does not make it correct.

John Heggestad, Washington

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