Famous, infamous and notorious

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Famous means known by many, having the stature of celebrity. Famous carries the connotation of people or things that are well known for something positive. The adjective famous comes from the Latin word famosus, which means much talked of, renowned, celebrated.

Infamous means being well known for something negative such as a criminal action or something else scandalous or wicked. Infamous is an adjective that is derived from the Latin prefix in- which means not, opposite of, and the Latin word famosus, which means renowned, celebrated.

Notorious means publicly known, usually unfavorably, for some sort of bad quality. Notorious may be used to describe something or someone who is wicked or something or someone who is merely not optimal. Notorious is an adjective that comes from the Medieval Latin word notorius which means well-known, commonly known.


The Coppell Deli, favorite haunt of the Dallas Cowboys players near Valley Ranch and made famous by broadcaster John Madden was demolished on Monday, January 18, 2014 to make room for a parking lot for the new Coppell Deli. (The Dallas Morning News)

This creates a lot of debate between the haters and fans, making the person behind the discussion even more famous. (The Citizen)

Famed Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss will see her infamous Black Book go up for auction on ebay with a starting bid of $100,000 (The Daily Mail)

It’s not often that the fame of an apartment manages to entirely one-up its owner, but such was the case with the infamous “Black Apartment” in West Chelsea, which has finally found a buyer. (The Observer)

A mother with a young child in her car tried to drive over a notorious Surrey ford – and were swept away by the powerful currents. (The Mirror)

Three days ago notorious criminal Mathew Kidman left a Wellington address where he was on electronic bail and police are now on the hunt for the man they describe as dangerous and not to be approached. (The New Zealand Herald)

The software industry is notorious for being male-dominated, but as large tech companies look to fix the problem by increasing the number of women in their work forces, some say it’s making it harder for startups to retain female staff. (The Globe and Mail)