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

There are destinations that are notorious for not being the nicest to people of color. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, "Black & Abroad founders encourage African Americans to visit their ancestral continent," 14 June 2019 McMahon was notorious for rebelling against the league’s strict uniform rules, and getting fined. Kalyn Kahler, SI.com, "The Bears at 100: Cheers and a Few Tears," 11 June 2019 That number is not lost on Pelosi, who is notorious for her ability to count votes. Alana Abramson, Time, "Activists Ramp Up Pressure on Congress to Start Impeachment Hearings," 5 June 2019 That’s because Portland native Harding is still notorious for denying advance knowledge of the 1994 attack on Harding’s then-skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan, an assault orchestrated by Harding’s ex-husband. oregonlive.com, "Tonya Harding wins ‘Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition’: ‘This time I’ll say it was me, I did it’," 3 June 2019 Taylor Swift is notorious for hiding secret messages and clues anywhere and everywhere — in her music videos, song lyrics, album booklets, clothing, merchandise, Instagram captions and photos, Tumblr posts, and more. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, Teen Vogue, "Taylor Swift Put So Many "Old Taylor" References in the "ME!" Music Video," 26 Apr. 2019 Regardless, comparing your former campaign chair to one of the most notorious criminals in U.S. history is a bold move. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Paul Manafort Spent Nearly a Million Dollars Trying to Dress Like a Cool Dad," 2 Aug. 2018 But even those, like one about a conservative Supreme Court Justice, left me longing for a book about the notorious, far more liberal one. Jules Barrueco, Glamour, "Moms Have Changed. It’s Time to Change Gifts for Them Too," 10 May 2019 Perhaps the most notorious of these, Plutonium-241 has a 14 year half-life. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Could Unleash Long-Frozen Radiation," 15 Apr. 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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Last Updated

17 Jun 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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