“Men are such cowards. They outrage every law in the world and are afraid of the world’s tongue.”*

*Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Image from drawing by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

From Online Etymology Dictionary:

outrage (n.)

c. 1300, “evil deed, offense, crime; affront, indignity, act not within established or reasonable limits,” of food, drink, dress, speech, etc., from Old French outrage “harm, damage; insult; criminal behavior; presumption, insolence, overweening” (12c.), earlier oltrage (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *ultraticum “excess,” from Latin ultra “beyond” (from suffixed form of PIE root *al-“beyond”).

Etymologically, “the passing beyond reasonable bounds” in any sense; meaning narrowed in English toward violent excesses because of folk etymology from out + rage. Of injuries to feelings, principles, etc., from 1769.

outrage (v.)

c. 1300, outragen, “to go to excess, act immoderately,” from outrage (n.) or from Old French oultrager. From 1580s with meaning “do violence to, attack, maltreat.” Related: Outraged; outraging.

outrageous (adj.)

c. 1300, “excessive, extravagant, exorbitant, immoderate,” from Old French outrageus, outrajos “immoderate, excessive, violent, lawless” (Modern French outrageux), from outrage, oltrage, from Vulgar Latin *ultraticum “excess,” from Latin ultra“beyond” (from suffixed form of PIE root *al- “beyond”). Meaning “flagrantly evil, atrocious” is late 14c.; modern teen slang usages of it unwittingly approach the original and etymological sense of outrage. Related: Outrageously; outrageousness.”

From Death of a Ghost (1934), by Margery Allingham:

“Outrage, combining as it does shock, anger, reproach, and helplessness, is perhaps the most unmanageable, the most demoralising of all the emotions…

…Campion was prepared for a painful experience, but even so the sight which Mr Potter presented as he sat up in the big Italian bed, propped by the glistening pillows, had in it that element of the unexpectedly shocking which is the very essence of embarrassment…

…It occurred to him that the emotion of pure surprise was rare, and that when it did come it cleared the consciousness of everything else…

…Mr Campion was still angry. The emotion of personal hatred, which is after all practically unknown among sophisticated folk, had descended upon him, making him ashamed…”

Timothy Meinch wrote for Discover magazine on Feb 12, 2021:

“…(Victoria Spring, a postdoc fellow studying moral emotions at New York University,) says social media does seem to complicate our relationship with outrage, likely because humans are still figuring out how to leverage the phenomena of having such a vast audience: “We’re constantly weighing the costs and benefits of saying something or not saying something.”

In related work, Sawaoka and colleagues recently identified what they call “the paradox of viral outrage” in a 2018 paper in Psychological Science. That work showed how the pile-on effect of online shaming can actually trigger sympathy toward an offender, even when their remark or misstep was grave. “We find that the more people who participate in collective shaming, the more this shaming can start to look like bullying,” Sawaoka says. Commenters who criticized the initial offense were also viewed more negatively when they were seen alongside a barrage of other shaming replies. “The exponential dynamics of internet postings make this expression of legitimate individual outrage appear excessive and unjust,” wrote the researchers.

Online shaming can become ever-more complex when the target is the culture at large.”

From: The Four Loves (1960), by C.S. Lewis:

“Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, “Yes. But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs.”

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