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


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)


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