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

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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

What are some sites that are notorious for fake news? Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "What Is Fake News and How Can I Spot It?," 25 Mar. 2019 Hugely popular to this day, its 40/40 review score system — four writers who can give up to 10 points each — remains notorious, despite the occasional allegations of excessive coziness with publishers. Sam Byford, The Verge, "428: Shibuya Scramble is the best crime book you’ll ever read on your PS4," 12 Oct. 2018 This attack combo has become notorious among Smash 4 pros, due to its ability to knock combatants out incredibly quickly, but Smash Ultimate has indeed nerfed it to remove the insta-kill potential. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Smash Bros. Ultimate review: The best fighting game on any Nintendo system," 6 Dec. 2018 Howard Hughes, a famous pilot, businessman, and film director, was as notorious for this as anyone else. Karina Longworth, Town & Country, "Howard Hughes's Affair with Actress Ginger Rogers Was Far From a Storybook Romance," 13 Nov. 2018 Japanese work culture is notorious for a lack of work-life balance; the phenomenon of karoshi, working oneself to death, has been well documented. Ellen Freeman, Curbed, "I lived in a Tokyo coworking space," 28 Sep. 2018 Rockstars have become notorious over the years for wrecking hotel rooms, from the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Celebrities Wreck The Plaza at #BAZAARICONS," 10 Sep. 2018 But after just a few years in a city notorious for its filthy air—the American Lung Association lists it in the five worst US cities for air quality—DietzKamei found herself in the emergency room struggling to breathe. Jason Plautz, WIRED, "Cheap, Portable Sensors Are Democratizing Air-Quality Data," 11 July 2018 In that capacity, Ferguson was anxious about student criticism of some speakers such as Charles Murray, the social scientist notorious for his views on race and IQ who spoke at Stanford in February. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Niall Ferguson wanted opposition research on a student.," 1 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

8 Apr 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 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

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