notorious

adjective
no·​to·​ri·​ous | \ nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs, nə-\

Definition of notorious

: generally known and talked of iron is a notorious conductor of heat— Lewis Mumford especially : widely and unfavorably known a notorious gangster an area notorious for soot, smog, and dust Pliotron

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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."

Examples of notorious in a Sentence

The coach is notorious for his violent outbursts. a notorious mastermind of terrorist activities

Recent Examples on the Web

Facebook is notorious for slurping data from users and nonusers alike to feed its advertising business. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "There's a Whole Web of Popular Apps Sending Your Data Off to Facebook," 2 Jan. 2019 My face was also extra sensitive, as Accutane is notorious for drying out your skin. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Drunk Elephant's Vegan Retinol Doesn't Irritate My Sensitive Skin," 26 Dec. 2018 Concrete is notorious for flaunting flaws—the most common complaint of unhappy homeowners. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Concrete Countertops: Is the Home Trend All It's Cracked up to Be?," 12 Dec. 2018 The insecure service run by Wisconsin could be reached from Internet addresses based in Russia, which has become notorious for seeking to influence US elections. Jack Gillum And Jeff Kao, Ars Technica, "File-sharing software on state election servers could expose them to intruders," 5 Nov. 2018 The long north-side escalator from the Pioneer Square Station mezzanine up to Third Avenue at Cherry Street, now Metro property, is especially notorious for shutdowns and yellow barricades. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Escalators at UW light-rail station keep breaking down; Sound Transit will improve them — and open a staircase," 26 Oct. 2018 As Scott Nover reported, the appellate decision concerned Robert Sherrill, a reporter for the Nation magazine who was notorious for challenging both Republican and Democratic politicians, including and especially regarding the Vietnam War. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Jim Acosta vs. the Trump White House, explained," 14 Nov. 2018 Bacteria are notorious for sharing useful bits of DNA. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Bacteria That Eat Drugs Could Help Solve the Antibiotic Resistance Crisis," 8 Nov. 2018 After all, midterms are notorious for low voter turnout, with 2012 seeing just 57.5 percent of eligible citizens casting ballots. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Nonprofit Is Sending Pizzas to Busy Polling Places," 5 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'notorious.' 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 notorious

1534, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for notorious

Medieval Latin notorius, from Late Latin notorium information, indictment, from Latin noscere to come to know — more at know

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for notorious

The first known use of notorious was in 1534

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More Definitions for notorious

notorious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of notorious

: well-known or famous especially for something bad

notorious

adjective
no·​to·​ri·​ous | \ nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs \

Kids Definition of notorious

: widely known especially for some bad characteristic … he caught the villain, who turned out to be a very notorious criminal.— Robert McClosky, Homer Price

Other Words from notorious

notoriously adverb She has a notoriously bad temper.

notorious

adjective
no·​to·​ri·​ous | \ nō-ˈtōr-ē-əs \

Legal Definition of notorious

: generally known and talked of adverse possession created by open, continuous, notorious, and adverse use

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