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  1. having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.
  2. deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable: an infamous deed.
  3. Law.
    1. deprived of certain rights as a citizen, as a consequence of conviction of certain offenses.
    2. of or relating to offenses involving such deprivation.

Origin of infamous

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin infām(is) (see infamy) + -ous
Related formsin·fa·mous·ly, adverbin·fa·mous·ness, noun
Can be confusedfamous infamous notorious (see synonym study at famous)

Synonyms for infamous

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Antonyms for infamous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for infamous


  1. having a bad reputation; notorious
  2. causing or deserving a bad reputation; shockinginfamous conduct
  3. criminal law (formerly)
    1. (of a person) deprived of certain rights of citizenship on conviction of certain offences
    2. (of a crime or punishment) entailing such deprivation
Derived Formsinfamously, adverbinfamousness, noun
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 infamous

late 14c., from Medieval Latin infamosus, from Latin in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + famosus "celebrated" (see famous). Meaning influenced by Latin infamis "of ill fame" (see infamy). As a legal term, "disqualified from certain rights of citizens in consequence of conviction of certain crimes" (late 14c.). Related: Infamously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper