Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Well or widely known. See Synonyms at noted.
  • adj. First-rate; excellent: had a famous time at the party.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Well known.
  • adj. In the public eye.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Celebrated in fame or public report; renowned; mach talked of; distinguished in story; -- used in either a good or a bad sense, chiefly the former; often followed by for

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Celebrated in fame or public report; renowned; distinguished in story or common talk: generally followed by for before the thing for which the person or thing is famed: as, a man famous for erudition, for eloquence, for military skill, etc.; a spring famous for its cures.
  • Deserving of fame; praiseworthy; uncommonly good; admirable: as, he is a famous hand at such work.
  • . Of good character: opposed to infamous.
  • . Injurious; defamatory; slanderous.
  • Synonyms Noted, Celebrated, Famous, Renowned, Illustrious, Distinguished, Eminent, Notable, Notorious, famed, far-famed, conspicuous, remarkable, signal. The first nine words express degrees and kinds of the presence or prominence of a person or thing in public knowledge or attention. Noted, celebrated, famous, are of an ascending scale of strength, and may be used in a good or a bad sense: as, a celebrated thief; a famous forger. The use of celebrated in a bad sense is rather new and less common. Noted is not much used by fastidious writers. Celebrated, renowned, illustrious, are also on an ascending scale of strength. Celebrated is, by derivation, commemorated in a solemn way, and occasionally shows somewhat of this meaning still. Renowned is, literally, named again and again. Illustrious suggests luster, splendor, in character or conduct: as, illustrious deeds; making one's country illustrious. Distinguished means marked by something that makes one stand apart from or above others in the public view. Eminent means standing high above the crowd. Notable is worthy of note, and so memorable, conspicuous, or notorious: as, a notable liar. Notorious is now used only in a bad sense, having a large and evil fame. A man may be notable, noted, or famous for his eccentricities or his industry, celebrated for his wit, renowned for his achievements, illustrious for his virtues, distinguished for his talents, eminent for his professional skill or success, notorious for his want of principle. See fame.
  • To render famous or renowned.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. widely known and esteemed

Etymologies

Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin fāmōsus, from fāma, fame.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman famous, from Old French fameus (modern French fameux). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This mortal combat ­between Communism and liberal democracy produced a vast literature, some books famous in their day, some ­famous still.

    The View From the Inside

  • England that his progenitors, that is to say, the Kings of England who had preceded him, were famous -- mark the word -- "_famous_ for the

    The Purpose of the Papacy

  • Since Prince owns the rights to the name "the Time," the Minneapolis men who made the moniker famous were forced to use a different appellation for this year's album, "Condensate."

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • A further five three-star restaurants are located in Osaka, a city renowned as the birthplace of "okonomiyaki" - a kind of pancake cooked on a hotplate table - while a further two top-starred eateries are in Kobe, a name famous for its associations with high-quality beef.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • In the old days, when Kathy Kolbe's father was creating the test that would later stir controversy and make his name famous among most NFL fans, young Kathy had no problem challenging Eldon Wonderlic's creation.

    Kansas City Star: Front Page

  • In his show Tuesday, he cut padded fabrics into bulging jackets, recalling the cocoon shape that made the label famous decades ago.

    What's Old Is Nouveau Again

  • “The enthusiasm with which his lecture was everywhere greeted is still ringing throughout California, and now, that his foot is on his native heath, we may expect to see the very mountains shake with a tempest of applause,” cried the Territorial Enterprise,5 making sure to add that the Enterprise was where Sam Clemens had christened the name Mark Twain “and developed that rich and inexhaustible vein of humor which has made the title famous.”

    Mark Twain

  • He ticked off some names, an impressive lists, lists Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison, Truman, all what he called famous names of people who were in the Guard just like he has.

    CNN Transcript Sep 15, 2004

  • Life in the big city among the famous is apparently the same regardless of the big city in question.

    Mexico City's miracle mile (or two)

  • Schlesak, a German-Romanian poet and essayist, sets his "documentary novel" in what he calls the "famous ashen gray zone" where lines blurred between jailers and prisoners, doctors and "inmates," masters and slaves.

    The Seattle Times

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