notorious

adjective
no·​to·​ri·​ous | \ nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs How to pronounce notorious (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Meredith was behind a notorious QAnon billboard on Cobb Parkway in Acworth. Chris Joyner, ajc, "Savannah QAnon adherent loses job after Capitol riot," 11 Jan. 2021 But this will be a playoff game unlike any of the rest, with Seattle’s notorious home fans absent due to COVID-19 restrictions. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Rams vs. Seahawks live stream (1/9): How to watch NFL Wild Card round online, TV, time," 9 Jan. 2021 West did show up for his wife's notorious island birthday last October, but just for one day — enough time to gift her a weird hologram of her late father. Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, "The Impending Kanye West & Kim Kardashian West Split Will Be Way Messier Than You Think," 6 Jan. 2021 The software was a notorious target for hackers and resulted in numerous high-profile security breaches. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Adobe Flash Player is officially dead. Here's how to uninstall it," 5 Jan. 2021 The most serious crimes were punished by incarceration in the city’s notorious prisons, exile, or even death. Kasia Dietz, Travel, "Need to complain? Here’s how Renaissance-era Venetians did it," 4 Jan. 2021 The letter cites the contention over the notorious 1876 presidential election between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. The Editors, National Review, "The Folly of the Cruz Eleven," 3 Jan. 2021 Winston Churchill, a notorious late riser even during World War II, dictated to typists while breakfasting in bed. New York Times, "Working From Bed Is Actually Great," 31 Dec. 2020 The number of murders Little confessed to surpassed those of other notorious serial killers. NBC News, "Samuel Little, most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, dies," 31 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about notorious

Time Traveler for notorious

Time Traveler

The first known use of notorious was in 1534

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about notorious

Statistics for notorious

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Notorious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/notorious. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for notorious

notorious

adjective
How to pronounce notorious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of notorious

: well-known or famous especially for something bad

notorious

adjective
no·​to·​ri·​ous | \ nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs How to pronounce notorious (audio) \

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 How to pronounce notorious (audio) \

Legal Definition of notorious

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on notorious

What made you want to look up notorious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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