Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

notorious

play
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 and Etymology 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

notorious

play
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

notorious

play
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

What made you want to look up notorious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take off or remove

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

megillah rebellion torrent interruption
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ