Distinguishing Between Notorious & Infamous

Key Difference – Notorious vs Infamous

Notorious and infamous are two words that are often used together since they both have negative connotations. Notorious refers to being famous for something bad, while infamous refers to being well known for a bad quality or deed. Both notorious and infamous are adjectives. The main difference between the two adjectives is that the word infamous carries a stronger negative connotation compared to the adjective notorious.

What is Notorious?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, notorious refers to being famous for something bad. An individual who is notorious is famous or well known for discreditable activities. This is why the adjective has negative connotations. It is important to note that the adjective cannot be used to describe someone who is well known in a positive manner.

The man is one of the most notorious thieves in the country.
He is a notorious criminal of the district.
The area is notorious for murders.

However, it should be highlighted that sometimes, the word notorious can be used for individuals in a figurative manner to emphasize that the person is well known, although not strictly in a positive sense. Here it is important to remember that although the reputation of the individual in question is negative, the person may not have done anything evil. It is merely confined to the negative reputation of the individual.

What is Infamous?

Infamous refers to being well known for a bad quality or deed. Most people consider infamous as the opposite of famous. This is a misconception. In fact, the word infamous is related to the word infamy. Infamous is used to describe an individual who is evil, detestable and has a very bad reputation. It can also be used for actions that are publicly condemned as well.

He was an infamous con artist.
The infamous deed of the group tarnished the name of the entire village.
Her infamous conduct ruined the entire family.

What is the difference between Notorious and Infamous?

Definitions of Notorious and Infamous:
Notorious: Notorious refers to being famous for something bad.
Infamous: Infamous refers to being well known for a bad quality or deed.

Characteristics of Notorious and Infamous:
Negative Connotations:
Notorious: The negative connotations can be either literal or figurative.
Infamous: The negative connotations are always literal.

Notorious: Notoriously is the adverb of notorious.
Infamous: Infamously is the adverb of infamous.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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