Posted on | April 18, 2011 | 14 Comments
When I saw this video at Ann Althouse’s blog (hat-tip, Instapundit), I did some quick searching and learned that Tricia Willoughby is a home-schooler and debate champion, one of three daughters of Wisconsin pro-life leaders Bret and Nancy Willoughby:
As the father of six home-schooled kids myself, I’m very proud to see Miss Willoughby’s poise as a public speaker. However, she twice uses “enormity” in an incorrect sense. The word has a negative connotation: “an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act . . . the quality or state of being immoderate, monstrous, or outrageous; especially: great wickedness.” While authorities differ on whether “enormity” can be used to signify large size (“enormousness” is preferred), using the word “enormity” to signify the momentous nature or historical import of an event one wishes to portray as positive (as Miss Willoughby does in reference to the Boston Tea Party) is always wrong.
Let’s hope that Miss Willoughby doesn’t mind this brief vocabulary lesson. Certainly, it is more well-intentioned than the vocabulary lesson offered by a certain Wisconsin union thug:
You can tell he’s a public-school alumnus: His vocabulary seems to be comprised chiefly of monosyllabic words with four letters.