Definition of famous in English:



  • 1Known about by many people.

    ‘a famous star’
    ‘the country is famous for its natural beauty’
    • ‘There's a wide variety of stalls but Yarmouth market is famous for its chip stalls.’
    • ‘They reassembled the beautiful buildings that this city had once been famous for.’
    • ‘The Old Inn at Gairloch is famous for its seafood and game but it is worth holding back to enjoy pudding.’
    • ‘Klose is famous for his heading ability but this was his first for Germany for three years.’
    • ‘Frida Kahlo is an icon who is arguably more famous for her image than for her work.’
    • ‘The Irish actor was as famous for his varied movie roles as his drinking and womanising.’
    • ‘Even Hegel has a vogue from time to time, though he is famous for being impossible to read.’
    • ‘Pitcairners are famous for the culture of silence that pervades their small society.’
    • ‘My father is famous for these kind of faux pas, partly because he is very deaf.’
    • ‘He is famous for wanting his money up front and for not playing a note until he has checked the payment.’
    • ‘The crocus was famous for both aesthetic and practical reasons in the ancient world.’
    • ‘Belgium is rightly famous for its blond beers, and you'll find a bar on every street corner.’
    • ‘He was famous for breaking countless bands and introducing new music to his listeners.’
    • ‘Riddle was famous for the work he did with Frank Sinatra, but was wary of getting too close to him.’
    • ‘The city is a World Heritage Site and is famous for its classical music, beer and marzipan.’
    • ‘The Sea of Cortez is famous for whales, which come to bear their young in January.’
    • ‘Aoka is famous for the edicts he ordered to be carved on rocks and pillars throughout his kingdom.’
    • ‘The Marx Brothers were famous for refusing to stick to the script of their stage shows.’
    • ‘How about a break in Chicago, the city famous for its jazz and blues music and its great shopping?’
    • ‘Some of his works are as famous for their literary as for their philosophical aspects.’
    well known, celebrated, prominent, famed, popular, having made a name for oneself
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  • 2informal Excellent.

    ‘Galway stormed to a famous victory’
    • ‘As he was to do three years later, White tackled England to a standstill to gain a famous victory.’
    • ‘In the end the Bay just didn't have enough juice in the tank to claim a famous victory.’
    • ‘The home side managed to hold out for the rest of the game to record a famous victory.’
    • ‘Kuerten reaches match point and records a famous victory in just over two hours.’
    • ‘They managed to hang on for the remaining five minutes to record a famous victory.’
    greatest, leading, foremost, best, finest, chief, outstanding, excellent, distinguished, prominent, eminent, important, major, star, top, top-tier, topmost, renowned, celebrated, illustrious, towering, supreme, superior, exceptional, unrivalled, unsurpassed, unequalled, inimitable, incomparable, matchless, peerless, unmatched, arch-, transcendent
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  • famous for being famous

    • Having no recognizable reason for one's fame other than high media exposure.

      ‘television reporters are now often more famous for being famous than for their work’
      • ‘In this age of Z-list celebrities who are famous for being famous, it's so refreshing to meet a real star.’
      • ‘Both women are certainly easy on the eye, but both are merely famous for being famous and that is about the sum of their achievements.’
      • ‘That is always the way of artists, for only mere celebrities are famous for being famous and need to cultivate a profile.’
      • ‘Celebrities are famous for being famous; heroes change lives.’
      • ‘These are people who are famous for being famous, ciphers for our fantasies, cartoon characters with extravagant lives.’
  • famous last words

    • Said as an ironic comment on an overconfident assertion that may later be proved wrong.

      ‘‘I'll be perfectly OK on my own.’ ‘Famous last words,’ she thought to herself’
      • ‘So for now I'm off to make my final preparations in the hope that all runs smoothly… famous last words!’
      • ‘Perhaps the most famous last words in military history were uttered by an American Civil War officer, John Sedgwick: They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.’
      • ‘No one laughed when Gen. George Custer uttered his famous last words at Little Big Horn: ‘We're not out of it.’’
      • ‘This time we have ‘no return to boom and bust’, a mantra which could turn out to be Gordon Brown's famous last words.’
      • ‘‘No need to worry any more, our ISP blocks all viruses’ could become some of the Net's most famous last words.’


Late Middle English: from Old French fameus, from Latin famosus ‘famed’, from fama (see fame).