in·​fa·​my | \ ˈin-fə-mē How to pronounce infamy (audio) \
plural infamies

Definition of infamy

1 : evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal
2a : an extreme and publicly known criminal or evil act
b : the state of being infamous

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for infamy

disgrace, dishonor, disrepute, infamy, ignominy mean the state or condition of suffering loss of esteem and of enduring reproach. disgrace often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism. sent home in disgrace dishonor emphasizes the loss of honor that one has enjoyed or the loss of self-esteem. preferred death to life with dishonor disrepute stresses loss of one's good name or the acquiring of a bad reputation. a once proud name fallen into disrepute infamy usually implies notoriety as well as exceeding shame. a day that lives in infamy ignominy stresses humiliation. the ignominy of being arrested

Frequently Asked Questions About infamy

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 infamy in a Sentence

He never escaped the infamy his crimes had earned him. despite her eventual pardons, she could never completely free herself of the infamy of being named a war criminal
Recent Examples on the Web De Toth imagined the gunfighter as a kind of cursed celebrity, dogged by his own infamy. Philip Martin, Arkansas Online, 13 June 2021 The 33-year-old is now channeling her energy and using her infamy to try to ensure that what happened to her does not happen to others, by making the nonconsensual dissemination of intimate pictures a federal crime. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2021 But for horse racing’s most famous man, a forever place in its infamy is closer than ever. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 9 May 2021 What cements his infamy is the price San Diego paid to simply swap its initial No. 3 pick to get Arizona's spot at No. 2 ... Nate Davis, USA Today, 12 Apr. 2021 Woods’s triumphant return from all of that—a decade plagued my infamy and injury—came here two years ago. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 7 Apr. 2021 All in all, Wednesday was quite the day for Big Oil, one that may end up living in infamy not just for those three companies, but for the industry as a whole. David Blackmon, Forbes, 27 May 2021 Worth every single second, because that’ll live in infamy. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 17 May 2021 Memories of a day of infamy on January 6 were everywhere on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 29 Apr. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of infamy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About infamy

Time Traveler for infamy

Time Traveler

The first known use of infamy was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for infamy

Last Updated

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Infamy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for infamy



English Language Learners Definition of infamy

: the condition of being known for having done bad things or for being evil
formal : an evil or terrible act


in·​fa·​my | \ ˈin-fə-mē How to pronounce infamy (audio) \
plural infamies

Kids Definition of infamy

1 : an evil reputation He earned infamy for his crimes.
2 : an evil or terrible act The people suffered the infamies of their ruler.

More from Merriam-Webster on infamy

Nglish: Translation of infamy for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about infamy


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!