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adjective no·to·ri·ous \nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs, nə-\

Simple Definition of notorious

  • : well-known or famous especially for something bad

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of notorious

  1. :  generally known and talked of; especially :  widely and unfavorably known

Examples of notorious in a sentence

  1. The coach is notorious for his violent outbursts.

  2. <a notorious mastermind of terrorist activities>

Did You Know?

Notorious was adopted into English in the 16th century from Medieval Latin notorius, itself from Late Latin's noun notorium, meaning "information" or "indictment." "Notorium," in turn, derives from the Latin verb noscere, meaning "to come to know." Although "notorious" can be a synonym of "famous," meaning simply "widely known," it long ago developed the additional implication of someone or something unpleasant or undesirable. The Book of Common Prayer Offices of 1549 includes the first known use of the unfavorable meaning in print, referring to "notorious synners."

Origin of notorious

Medieval Latin notorius, from Late Latin notorium information, indictment, from Latin noscere to come to know — more at know

First Known Use: 1534

Synonym Discussion of notorious

famous, renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious mean known far and wide. famous implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known <a famous actress>. renowned implies more glory and acclamation <one of the most renowned figures in sports history>. celebrated implies notice and attention especially in print <the most celebrated beauty of her day>. noted suggests well-deserved public attention <the noted mystery writer>. notorious frequently adds to famous an implication of questionableness or evil <a notorious gangster>. distinguished implies acknowledged excellence or superiority <a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize>. eminent implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character <the country's most eminent writers>. illustrious stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person <illustrious war heroes>.

NOTORIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective no·to·ri·ous \nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs\

Definition of notorious for Students

  1. :  widely known especially for some bad characteristic <… he caught the villain, who turned out to be a very notorious criminal. — Robert McClosky, Homer Price>

notoriously adverb <She has a notoriously bad temper.>

Law Dictionary


adjective no·to·ri·ous \nō-ˈtōr-ē-əs\

Legal Definition of notorious

  1. :  generally known and talked of <adverse possession created by open, continuous, notorious, and adverse use>

Seen and Heard

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