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

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 of 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 Though the pair would ultimately divorce in 1996, just one year ahead of Diana's untimely death by a car crash, their wedding day lives on in infamy forever. Nicole Briese, Peoplemag, 12 Aug. 2022 Stranger Things character Eddie Munson will go down in infamy for his heroic sacrifice in the last episode of the show's fourth season. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 7 July 2022 World War II history lives in infamy in the heart of Honolulu, where Pearl Harbor remains a powerful testament to American tragedy and resolve. Fox News, 29 June 2022 Today’s Supreme Court opinion will live in infamy as a step backward for women's rights and human rights. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 June 2022 Today’s Supreme Court opinion will live in infamy as a step backward for women's rights and human rights. Rose Minutaglio, ELLE, 24 June 2022 Their unforced errors seemed to mount as their infamy grew, law enforcement experts told CNN, and ultimately spelled the end of their quest for freedom. Dakin Andone And Michelle Krupa, CNN, 10 May 2022 The 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign’s bogus Steele dossier of allegations against Donald Trump deserves its infamy in the annals of political abuses. James Freeman, WSJ, 14 Feb. 2022 No Way Home hits theaters Dec. 17 and stars Tom Holland as the titular Spider-Man/Peter Parker who is trying to juggle his newfound infamy, schoolwork, and his burgeoning relationship with MJ (Zendaya). Ruth Kinane,, 26 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of infamy

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for infamy

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

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Statistics for infamy

Last Updated

18 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Infamy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for infamy


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


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