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  • notorious
  • audio pronunciation
  • \noh-TOR-ee-us\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: generally known and talked of; especially : widely and unfavorably known
  • EXAMPLES

That particular model of car is notorious for quickly developing a number of irritating mechanical problems.

"Stroll along La Rambla and take in the very touristy mile-long avenue filled with kiosks, cafés and flower stands. Be careful — the area is notorious for its pickpockets." — From an article by Marc Schwarz in the Herald News (Passaic County, NJ), March 25, 2012

  • 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 of 1549 includes the first known use of the unfavorable meaning in print, referring to "notorious synners."

Word Family Quiz: What relative of "notorious" begins with "i" and means "to refuse to take notice of"? The answer is ...

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