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

In 1990, on the occasion of a soccer game in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, there was a notorious brawl between Serbs and Croats that left sixty people wounded. Larry Wolff, WSJ, "Croatia Offers Redemption for Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018 The account shows how power imbalances within the banking industry prevent whistleblowers from coming forward and why there have been so few #metoo stories that have come out of Wall Street despite its notorious frat boy culture. Longreads, "The Top 5 Longreads of the Week," 13 July 2018 Take Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old French wunderkind, born to a Cameroonian father and Algerian mother in the notorious banlieues of Paris. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The World Cup is a victory for the immigrant dream," 12 July 2018 Fresh flowers and roses adorned Franco’s tomb, a gray slab of concrete on the floor ringed by black marble: a tribute to one of the 20th century’s most notorious dictators. Joseph Zeballos-roig, The New Republic, "How to Dig Up a Dictator," 11 July 2018 Her most notorious achievement on the island was blinding a herd of cows, supposedly as a protest against the meat industry. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore': Theater Review," 5 July 2018 Brazil's Neymar is the most notorious World Cup faker, with his theatrics spawning countless memes. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "The World Cup is getting seriously dirty now," 4 July 2018 France consequently lost the game, and a legacy that deserved a fitting send off received the most notorious finales. SI.com, "7 of the Craziest Moments in World Cup History," 3 July 2018 Bahceli has called for an amnesty that would allow some of Turkey’s most notorious mafia bosses to get out of jail. Cagan Koc, Bloomberg.com, "Erdogan's Nationalist Ally Publishes Media Hate-List After Vote," 26 June 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

4 Nov 2018

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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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