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 His brother is being held in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, "This is what Iranian Americans think will happen next," 8 Jan. 2020 American officials deny that Wang, who had been locked in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, was a spy. BostonGlobe.com, "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 8 Dec. 2019 United States officials deny that Mr. Wang, who had been locked in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, was a spy. Michael Crowley, New York Times, "In Prisoner Swap, Iran Frees American Held Since 2016," 7 Dec. 2019 Al-Baghdadi was taken to the notorious prison at Camp Bucca, which inadvertently came to serve as an incubator for Sunni jihadism, according to former camp officials. W.j. Hennigan, Time, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Dead. Where Does That Leave ISIS?," 29 Oct. 2019 Albert Lewis spent most of his life inside one of the most notorious prisons in the world: Louisiana State Penitentiary, more commonly called Angola. Kenneth E. Hartman, Harper's magazine, "Life after Life," 16 Sep. 2019 As of July 1, Parchman, the state’s most notorious prison, had one officer for every 11 inmates. Jerry Mitchell, ProPublica, "Inside The Prison Where Inmates Set Each Other On Fire and Gangs Have More Power Than Guards," 19 Aug. 2019 They were organized by leaders of rival prison gangs in California’s notorious Pelican Bay State Prison, who formed a truce and pledged to work together to end solitary confinement. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Attorney who helped end indefinite solitary confinement is banned from CA prisons, over cell phone allegations," 16 Aug. 2019 García’s father was being held in El Sexto, a notorious prison in Lima (which was later torn down), when his son was born in 1949. Daniel Alarcón, The New Yorker, "What Led Peru’s Former President to Take His Own Life?," 1 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for notorious

Time Traveler

The first known use of notorious was in 1534

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Notorious.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/notorious. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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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

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