[ fey-muh s ]
/ ˈfeɪ məs /


having a widespread reputation, usually of a favorable nature; renowned; celebrated: a famous writer.
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

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for famous

British Dictionary definitions for famous


/ (ˈfeɪməs) /


known to or recognized by many people; renowned
informal excellent; splendid
archaic of ill repute

Derived Forms

famousness, noun

Word Origin for famous

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