Definition of notorious
- iron is a notorious conductor of heat
- —Lewis Mumford
- a notorious gangster
- an area notorious for soot, smog, and dust
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The coach is notorious for his violent outbursts.
a notorious mastermind of terrorist activities
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.
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."
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