[fey-muh s]


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 formsfa·mous·ly, adverbfa·mous·ness, nouno·ver·fa·mous, adjectivepre·fa·mous, adjectivepre·fa·mous·ly, adverbpseu·do·fa·mous, adjectivepseu·do·fa·mous·ly, adverbqua·si-fa·mous, adjectivequa·si-fa·mous·ly, adverbun·fa·mous, adjective
Can be confusedfamous 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 famousness

Historical Examples of famousness

  • She had taken in the housemaid and small-boy view of famousness, and she was having her shallow little day of living it.

    The Other Girls

    Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

British Dictionary definitions for famousness



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

Word Origin and History for famousness



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