Pronounced: KRACK-jaw, adj/noun
Notes: You might guess this word, and it has many synonyms
The word egregious means “extraordinary in a bad way; conspicuously bad; flagrant”
This word came into English in the mid-1500s
Background / Comments
As I noted yesterday, I ran across this word in a comedy show (Yes, Minister) – a cabinet member was reading an article that referred to him as “egregious”. He asked another man what “egregious” meant, and the other man, in a wonderful, memorable, and evasive answer, said that it meant “outstanding in a certain way”. Oddly enough, when it first came into English, it was a compliment – it referred to someone who had a good quality that place him above others. This was no doubt due to its origin: it came from the Latin word egregius (eminent, distinguished). Over time, our word has shifted from a compliment to an insult – probably due to sarcastic or ironic use.