infamous

adjective
in·​fa·​mous | \ ˈin-fə-məs How to pronounce infamous (audio) \

Definition of infamous

1 : having a reputation of the worst kind : notoriously evil an infamous traitor
2 : causing or bringing infamy : disgraceful an infamous crime
3 : convicted of an offense bringing infamy

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Other Words from infamous

infamously adverb

Frequently Asked Questions About infamous

Is being infamous always a bad thing?

Infamous has a small range of meanings, and none of them are ones that most people would care to be described with. It may mean "notoriously evil," "disgraceful," or "convicted of an offense bringing infamy" (infamy is "evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal").

Is infamous the opposite of famous?

Infamous is not the opposite if famous. It does not mean "not famous" or "exceptionally famous." It means "having a reputation of the worst kind." Although the in- prefix often indicates negation or gives a meaning opposite to the word it is attached to, it occasionally will have other meanings (such as "inward" and "thoroughly").

What is the difference between unfamous and infamous?

"Although it would appear that both of these words are created by adding a similar prefix to the word famous, they actually have quite different meanings. Infamous means ""notoriously evil"" whereas unfamous simply means ""not famous."" Infamous is by far the more commonly-used of the two. "

Examples of infamous in a Sentence

The most infamous of South America's poisonous snakes are the ringed coral snake and the pit viper. — Candice Millard, The River of Doubt, 2005 Clemens is famous, or maybe infamous, for his brushback pitches and in particular for his penchant for "doubling up," throwing two brushbacks in a row. — Pat Jordan, New York Times Magazine, 4 Mar. 2001 Instead we invoke the infamous dark matter, also known to make up most of the mass of other galaxies (both spiral and elliptical), clusters of galaxies, and the universe. What is it? Your guess may not be quite as good as mine, but almost. — Virginia Trimble et al., Sky & Telescope, January 1995 a city infamous for poverty and crime He committed an infamous crime.
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Recent Examples on the Web Biden’s most infamous mythologizing came during a 1988 campaign for the presidency. David Harsanyi, National Review, "The Secret Life of Joe Biden," 18 Sep. 2020 Perhaps most infamous is former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge who was convicted of perjury for lying about his role as the leader of a group of officers who tortured suspects into confessing. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "Official misconduct is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, study finds," 15 Sep. 2020 This investigative docuseries explores the greed, fraud and corruption of India’s most infamous tycoons. Washington Post, "What to watch on Wednesday: ‘Chef’s Table: BBQ’ on Netflix," 2 Sep. 2020 Its signature hill is a re-creation of some of Moab’s most infamous rocky terrain: the 45-degree steep Hot Tub. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "In the saddle of the bucking Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport," 29 Aug. 2020 Alexander was criticized for his inability to manage a crisis, too, but his most infamous boondoggle at LSU was lampooned nationally, and will be his lasting legacy in Baton Rouge. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Reality bites: Insults from West Coast add to pain for SEC," 14 Aug. 2020 Absent from the descriptions are the home's most recent history and most infamous occupant: Jeffrey Epstein. Mola Lenghi, CBS News, "For Sale: "Gargantuan" NYC mansion, home to Epstein horrors," 5 Aug. 2020 Jeff Bezos took a lot of heat in his first-ever Congressional appearance, including questions concerning internal emails about arguably the most infamous example of Amazon throttling a competitor. Rishi Iyengar, CNN, "Here are the internal documents that Congress used to grill Big Tech," 30 July 2020 The most infamous example of that is HIV, Wherry says, which attacks the very T cells that would coordinate the immune response to the virus. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Covid-19 Immunity May Rely on a Microscopic Helper: T Cells," 10 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'infamous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of infamous

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for infamous

Middle English, from Latin infamis, from in- + fama fame

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Time Traveler for infamous

Time Traveler

The first known use of infamous was in the 14th century

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Statistics for infamous

Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Infamous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/infamous. Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for infamous

infamous

adjective
How to pronounce infamous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of infamous

: well-known for being bad : known for evil acts or crimes
: causing people to think you are bad or evil

infamous

adjective
in·​fa·​mous | \ ˈin-fə-məs How to pronounce infamous (audio) \

Kids Definition of infamous

1 : having an evil reputation an infamous murderer
2 : evil entry 1 sense 1, bad an infamous crime

Other Words from infamous

infamously adverb

infamous

adjective
in·​fa·​mous | \ ˈin-fə-məs How to pronounce infamous (audio) \

Legal Definition of infamous

: of, relating to, or being a crime punishable by imprisonment (as a year or more in a penitentiary) that can lead to loss of rights and privileges upon conviction also : convicted of such a crime

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