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[fey-muh s] /ˈfeɪ məs/
having a widespread reputation, usually of a favorable nature; renowned; celebrated:
a famous writer.
Antonyms: unknown, obscure.
Informal. first-rate; excellent:
The singer gave a famous performance.
notorious (used pejoratively).
Origin of famous
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin fāmōsus. See fame, -ous
Related forms
famously, adverb
famousness, noun
overfamous, adjective
prefamous, adjective
prefamously, adverb
pseudofamous, adjective
pseudofamously, adverb
quasi-famous, adjective
quasi-famously, adverb
unfamous, adjective
Can be confused
famous, infamous, notorious.
Synonym Study
1. Famous, celebrated, eminent, distinguished refer to someone or something widely and favorably known. Famous is the general word: a famous lighthouse. Celebrated originally referred to something commemorated, but now usually refers to someone or something widely known for conspicuous merit, services, etc.: a celebrated writer. Eminent implies high standing among one's contemporaries, especially in one's own profession or craft: an eminent physician. Distinguished adds to eminent the idea of honors conferred more or less publicly: a distinguished scientist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for unfamous


known to or recognized by many people; renowned
(informal) excellent; splendid
(archaic) of ill repute
Derived Forms
famousness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin fāmōsus; see fame
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unfamous



late 14c., from Anglo-French famous, Old French fameus (Modern French fameux), from Latin famosus "much talked of, renowned," often "infamous, notorious, of ill repute," from fama (see fame (n.)). A native word for this was Old English namcuð, literally "name-known." Catch phrase famous last words "remark likely to be proved wrong" is first attested 1948.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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