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Jan 24, 2000
This week's theme
Words that have reversed their meaning
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with Anu Garg


(i-GREE-juhs, -jee-uhs) Pronunciation RealAudio

adjective: Remarkable in a bad way; flagrant.

From Latin egregius (outstanding), from e-, ex- (out of) + greg-, stem of grex (flock). Earlier something egregious was one that stood out because it was remarkably good. Over the centuries the word took 180 degree turn and today it refers to something grossly offensive.

"The most egregious example of this sort of scapegoating came last week, when Italy's Giovanni Trapattoni blamed Ecuadorean ref Byron Moreno for the Azzuri's inglorious defeat by South Korea."
Aparisim Ghosh; Lay Off the Refs: The Men in Black Shouldn't Take Heat From a Bunch of Sore Losers; Time International; Jul 1, 2002.

"Parolles: My lord, you give me most egregious indignity. Lafeu: Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it."
William Shakespeare; All's Well That Ends Well: Scene III.


We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders. -Maya Angelou, poet (1928- )

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