Definition of infamous in US English:



  • 1Well known for some bad quality or deed.

    ‘an infamous war criminal’
    • ‘When musicians become famous - or infamous - the hype can often overshadow their talent and technique.’
    • ‘Amsterdam is famous, indeed infamous, for its relaxed laws on certain narcotic substances.’
    • ‘Of course there are far more famous or rather infamous figures in the history of the last two centuries.’
    • ‘Debates about ethics have often accompanied well-known, not to say infamous, cases of alleged ethical transgression.’
    • ‘However, it is those same traits that have made her famous and infamous in equal measure.’
    • ‘He's famous, infamous even, for many exploits, none of which, you sense, has done him anything but harm.’
    • ‘How well I remember New York delicatessens, having grown up in that city made famous and infamous by recent events.’
    • ‘Still to come, some of the famous and infamous journalists who joined us during the past year.’
    • ‘Become famous, ideally infamous, through music which attracts teenagers and repels adults in equal degree.’
    • ‘Once society felt certain of the difference between the famous and the infamous.’
    • ‘Up until the early to mid eighties, Chile was famous or infamous for cheap Spanish style reds and whites.’
    • ‘Made famous, or rather infamous, by Shakespeare, Richard is put ‘on trial’ for murdering two of his nephews.’
    • ‘Names of the renowned and the infamous are forever appearing in books, articles, and primary materials.’
    • ‘Let me ask you about the most famous, or infamous, use of explosives, of course, that plane that went down.’
    • ‘The infamous London smog is an example of extreme air pollution.’
    • ‘Famous and infamous incidents in the world of sports will be related to the child.’
    • ‘Or was there something that took place in your village that made it famous, or infamous?’
    • ‘When you shake her hand, it's with an awareness of all the other hands, famous and infamous, naked and long dead, that she has shaken.’
    • ‘I've always said that he was either going to be famous for something or infamous for something.’
    • ‘Two weeks ago he was again celebrated when the infamous Luas Bridge in Dundrum was named after the engineer but this time he was a Carlow man!’
    notorious, disreputable, ill-famed, of ill-repute
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    1. 1.1 Wicked; abominable.
      ‘the medical council disqualified him for infamous misconduct’
      • ‘This goes to the heart of what the infamous international comparison was all about - objective quality.’
      • ‘He was widely regarded as a lock for the top three and a very strong contender just two weeks before his infamous misconduct.’
      • ‘An infamous character might be very likely to be a charge on the State.’
      • ‘Darcy writes to her, outlining his role in influencing Bingley and tells her about Wickham’s infamous misconduct with Darcy’s sister’
      • ‘In the minds of many people, Judas Iscariot is one of the most wickedly infamous men of Bible History.’
      abominable, outrageous, shocking, shameful, disgraceful, dishonourable, discreditable, unworthy, unprincipled, unscrupulous
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    2. 1.2Law historical (of a person) deprived of all or some citizens' rights as a consequence of conviction for a serious crime.
      • ‘Amiterre legem terrae (literally, "to lose the law of the land") is a Latin phrase used in law, signifying the forfeiture of the right of swearing in any court or cause, or to become infamous.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin infamosus, from Latin infamis (based on fama ‘fame’).