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Synonym Chooser

How is the word notorious different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of notorious are celebrated, distinguished, eminent, famous, illustrious, noted, and renowned. While all these words mean "known far and wide," notorious frequently adds to famous an implication of questionableness or evil.

a notorious gangster

When is celebrated a more appropriate choice than notorious?

The meanings of celebrated and notorious largely overlap; however, celebrated implies notice and attention especially in print.

the most celebrated beauty of her day

When would distinguished be a good substitute for notorious?

The words distinguished and notorious are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, distinguished implies acknowledged excellence or superiority.

a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize

In what contexts can eminent take the place of notorious?

In some situations, the words eminent and notorious are roughly equivalent. However, eminent implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character.

the country's most eminent writers

When could famous be used to replace notorious?

Although the words famous and notorious have much in common, famous implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known.

a famous actress

When can illustrious be used instead of notorious?

The synonyms illustrious and notorious are sometimes interchangeable, but illustrious stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person.

illustrious war heroes

When is it sensible to use noted instead of notorious?

While the synonyms noted and notorious are close in meaning, noted suggests well-deserved public attention.

the noted mystery writer

When might renowned be a better fit than notorious?

The words renowned and notorious can be used in similar contexts, but renowned implies more glory and acclamation.

one of the most renowned figures in sports history

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Cite this Entry

“Notorious.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/notorious. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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