Posted By: SaoirseSea Nefarious' Noun Form - 07/14/18 04:18 AM
Hi all! I understand this is a super niche topic, but recently, while trying to title a piece of work I'm writing, I wanted to use the noun form of 'Nefarious', which I assumed was 'Nefarity'. Just to be certain, I googled it, and it appears that the adjective form is, instead 'Nefariousness'. Upon googling "Why nefariousness instead of nefarity", I stumbled across this forum, though not with an answer to the question, just with the word 'Nefarity' in use. So, I pose the question (that is ever so slightly driving me mad);

Why nefariousness instead of nefarity?

Nefarity seems to make much more sense. It's shorter, more concise, and far less of a mouthful. While I love the English language, I'm not entirely sure if there's any rule that dictates when to use 'nous' instead of 'ity'. Generous, for example, becomes 'Generosity' and 'Generousness', but we don't use 'Generousness' often at all. Was the noun originally 'Generousness', and the common noun became 'Generosity' out of just the changes in our language, and it being easier to say and write? If so, is the same possible for 'Nefarity', or do we think that 'Nefariousness' itself is too uncommon to be used enough for us to make the switch to 'Nefarity'?

Furthermore, if I was to begin using ONLY nefarity, could I start a revolution and bring the word into common use? grin
Posted By: LukeJavan8 Re: Nefarious' Noun Form - 07/14/18 04:47 AM
Hello and WELCOME

I'd say stick around and you'll probably get an answer soon, but I be less than honest. There are not many members anymore who
contribute to this forum, despite the 9059 registered.
Your question is a good one and deserves attention. Try contacting Dr. Goodword at

this site:

Posted By: A C Bowden Re: Nefarious' Noun Form - 07/14/18 12:27 PM
Some 'ous' adjectives have the noun form 'ity', e.g. enormous > enormity, hilarious > hilarity.
Some have the noun form 'osity', e.g. monstrous > monstrosity, religious > religiosity.
Some have the noun form 'ousness', e.g. nervous > nervousness, outrageous > outrageousness.
'Ingenious' has the irregular noun form 'ingenuity' (the 'u' presumably arose through confusion with 'ingenuous').
Some 'ous' adjectives have alternative noun forms, e.g. callous > callousness or callosity.

I don't know why they vary in this way. Such words are mostly derived from Latin. Some may have been derived directly, and others via French; I don't know whether that accounts for any of the differences.
Posted By: LukeJavan8 Re: Nefarious' Noun Form - 07/14/18 03:54 PM
Good stuff AC. So few people here I did not think anyone would try to answer, and it makes sense. Thanks.
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