US English

UK English

Part of Speech



infamous, well-known, widely recognized, celebrated, distinguished, famous


unknown, obscure, anonymous, unnoted

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective notorious
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The notorious criminal, known for his audacious bank heists and elusive nature, remained one step ahead of the authorities for years.

  • The nightclub had a notorious reputation for attracting rowdy crowds and fostering a culture of excess and debauchery.

  • The actor’s notorious diva behavior on set, with frequent tantrums and demands, made headlines and strained relationships with the cast and crew.

  • The company’s notorious history of unethical business practices and exploitation of workers led to public outrage and boycotts.


The word “notorious” traces its origins back to the Latin term “notorius,” which means “well-known” or “publicly recognized.” It is derived from the root word “notus,” meaning “known” or “famous.” The suffix “-ious” is added to form the adjective, denoting a quality or state.

The prefix “no-” in “notorious” serves as a negation, giving the word a negative or unfavorable meaning. Thus, “notorious” describes something or someone widely known, typically for unfavorable or scandalous reasons. It is often associated with infamy, disrepute, or a negative reputation.

The usage of “notorious” typically pertains to individuals, groups, or events that have gained significant public attention due to their involvement in illegal, immoral, or controversial activities. It conveys a sense of notoriety and suggests that the subject has become widely known for their negative actions, behavior, or reputation. It implies a widespread awareness of the subject’s wrongdoing or negative impact.

The term “notorious” can also be used to describe places or things that have acquired a negative reputation or association. For example, a notorious neighborhood may be known for its high crime rates or social issues, while a notorious book may be widely criticized or controversial.

Variations of the word “notorious” include “notoriously” as an adverb form and “notoriety” as a noun form. These variations further emphasize the extent or nature of the subject’s negative reputation or public recognition.

Understanding the history and usage of “notorious” helps us recognize the significance of negative reputation and the impact it can have on individuals, groups, or places. It reminds us of the power of actions and choices in shaping our perception in society and encourages us to strive for positive contributions and ethical behavior.