Enormity and enormousness

This is a post about the word 'enormity'.

At work, our intranet is being migrated to another server "to improve back-end performance". On the intranet itself an IT spokesman is quoted as saying: "This has involved over 50 people from across the company due to the enormity of the project."

Enormity? Really? According to the OED, enormity means "the large scale or extreme seriousness (of something bad)". The migration does seem to have a large scale, but I'm not sure whether it is something bad - or if so, whether the spokesman would want to draw attention to this aspect of it.

Perhaps the IT spokesman meant 'enormousness' not 'enormity'.

To be fair, the dictionary does list a secondary meaning of 'enormity' as "(in neutral use) great size or scale", which reflects the changing meaning of this word. The OED even says that this secondary meaning is "now broadly accepted in standard English".

However while the word 'enormity' retains negative connotations for many people, it is probably better and certainly safer to use a different word in a neutral context - enormousness, or hugeness. The IT spokesman could have just used the words 'scale' or 'size'.

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