Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Characterized by extremely brutal or cruel crimes; vicious.
  • adj. Infamous; scandalous: "That remorseless government persisted in its flagitious project” ( Robert Southey).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Extremely brutal or cruel

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Disgracefully or shamefully criminal; grossly wicked; scandalous; shameful; -- said of acts, crimes, etc.
  • adj. Guilty of enormous crimes; corrupt; profligate; -- said of persons.
  • adj. Characterized by scandalous crimes or vices.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Shamefully wicked; atrocious; scandalous; flagrant; grossly criminal: as, a flagitious action or crime.
  • Guilty of scandalous crimes; profligate; corrupt; abandoned.
  • Marked or characterized by scandalous crimes or vices: as, a flagitious record.
  • Synonyms Execrable, Villainous, etc. (see nefarious); heinous, shameful, infamous, shocking, vile.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. extremely wicked, deeply criminal
  • adj. shockingly brutal or cruel

Etymologies

Middle English flagicious, wicked, from Latin flāgitiōsus, from flāgitium, shameful act, protest, from flāgitāre, to importune, to demand vehemently.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French flagitieux or Latin flāgitiōsus, both ultimately from flāgitium ("shameful crime"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • a secret and unlawful society or _hetæria_; and it was a proselytizing society; and its very name was connected with "flagitious," "atrocious," and "shocking" acts.

    The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 03

  • Gertzman argues that moral reformers during this period were “correct to claim that the traffic in ‘pornography’ was vigorous in the 1920s and 1930s, and that Jews were preponderant as distributors of gallantiana erotic fiction, avant-garde sexually explicit novels, sex pulps, sexology, and the most flagitious materials.”

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • So far, both inflation and long term interest rates have remained surprisingly low, despite the flagitious promiscuity in which the U.S. has increased its federal debt, from $5.5 billion to $8.6 billion in just 18 months.

    Alan Schram: The Next Thing to Go Wrong

  • It was said that the Army were to be employed as the Instruments to promote flagitious Interested Views.

    Robert Morris

  • Speak not for Ramorny, for he dies; and go thou from my presence, and repent the flagitious counsels which could make thee stand before me with a falsehood in thy mouth.

    The Fair Maid of Perth

  • He answered with spirited resentment demands he deemed highly flagitious, counselling those who sent them, when next they applied to an unhappy family to whose calamities they had contributed, to enquire first if its principles, as well as its fortune, made the hazards of gaming amongst its domestic responsibilities.

    Camilla

  • Wales; where he insinuated himself into the acquaintance of Mrs. Ecton, just after she had married Miss Melmond to Mr. Berlinton: and though this was not an intercourse that could travel to Gretna Green, the beauty and romantic turn of the bride of so disproportioned a marriage, opened to his unprincipled mind a scheme yet more flagitious.

    Camilla

  • Yet it was not an age of gross and open vices; manners were not flagitious, they were merely of a nauseous insipidity.

    Henrik Ibsen

  • If you knew half the flagitious wickedness which has been perpetrated within that house, you would rather bless the divine judgment, which permits not even the senseless walls that screened such profligacy, any longer to cumber

    The Abbot

  • He is impure or flagitious, who meeting with modest women, sheweth that which taketh his name of shame or secrecy.

    On caricatures and character « Jahsonic

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