Definitions

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

  • adj. Known widely and usually unfavorably; infamous: a notorious gangster; a district notorious for vice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Widely known, especially for something bad; infamous.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Generally known and talked of by the public; universally believed to be true; manifest to the world; evident; -- usually in an unfavorable sense

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Publicly or generally known and spoken of; manifest to the world: in this sense generally used predicatively: when used attributively, the word now commonly implies some circumstance of disadvantage or discredit; hence, notable in a bad sense; widely or well but not favorably known.
  • Synonyms Noted, Notable, etc. (see famous); patent, manifest, evident.

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

  • adj. known widely and usually unfavorably

Etymologies

From Medieval Latin nōtōrius, well-known, from Latin nōtus, known, past participle of nōscere, to get to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested 1548, from Medieval Latin nōtōrius ("widely or fully known"), from Latin nōtus ("known"), perfect passive participle of nōscō ("get to know"). Negative sense appeared in seventeenth century. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Indeed, NBC Universal, which owns MSNBC, also owns Interscope Records, a label notorious for hiring gangsta rap artists.

    From the WSJ Opinion Archives

  • LAVANDERA (voice-over): You wouldn't think a boot wearing Texas governor could stomp on Iran, but Rick Perry is sending a financial strike at what he calls a notorious regime.

    CNN Transcript Jul 24, 2007

  • LAVANDERA (voice-over): You won't think a boot-wearing Texas governor could stomp on Iran, but Rick Perry is sending a financial strike at what he calls a notorious regime.

    CNN Transcript Jul 24, 2007

  • They were unanimous in their condemnation of what they called notorious abusers, but divided on the question of zero tolerance.

    CNN Transcript Apr 25, 2002

  • Of these, the most notorious is the contentious issue of immigration.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Immigrants and Nazis, Communists and Cardinals

  • Though other Soviet spies from that era — Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg — remain notorious to this day, Gold has faded from the story.

    Another Quiet American

  • A government-owned transmission utility organized along the current RTO/ISO territories would have access to better financing terms (bonds) and would have a strong incentive and the financial means to relieve congestion in notorious trouble spots (New York and Long Island are examples).

    Matthew Yglesias » An Electrical Grid We Can Believe In

  • "Getting attention by becoming notorious is better than being a failure."

    10 years later, the real story behind Columbine

  • But over the past two weeks, administrators and parents at the elite Quaker private school in Lower Manhattan have become quick studies after Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz publicly criticized Friends Seminary for inviting a musician he called a "notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier"—accusations that Mr. Atzmon, who was born Jewish, staunchly denies.

    School Hits Sour Note

  • They could add a subset of public restrooms around the country where certain notorious events have taken place.

    On the spot (Jack Bog's Blog)

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