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August 4, 2022

Flagitious / adjective / fla·​gi·​tious

We use flagitious as an adjective in English to describe people and intangible situations we see as disgraceful, rotten, or scandalous. In the formal sense, flagitious describes characteristics and circumstances of scandalous crimes or vices.

Flagitious relates to the word villainous, which denotes the characteristics of people with depraved behaviors. In the 14th century, they used the word flagitious to identify criminals and horribly wicked people.

Being called flagitious is far from being given a compliment. Flagitious people are akin to the scum of the earth and people for whom we hold very little disdain.


Etymologists say we derived the word flagitious from a combination of words found in Old English and Latin. They say flagitious comes from the Latin words flagitum and flagrum, Latin nouns representing shameful things and whips, respectively.

We started using flagitious in the 14th century to label wicked criminals and the outcasts of society. We still use flagitious in this sense today. Along with describing the undesirables of society, we also use flagitious to represent intangible ideas and principles that we disagree with.

In a Sentence

The judge pronounced the defendants as flagitious before sentencing them to life in prison on court television.

It's not a good idea to hang out with flagitious people who are likely to get you into trouble with their bad behavior.

The four criminals immediately had flagitious notions when they rode past an expensive car with the door open and the keys in the ignition.


Disgraceful, Atrocious


Unalarming, Righteous






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