[ in-fuh-mee ]
/ ˈɪn fə mi /
Save This Word!

noun, plural in·fa·mies for 3.
extremely bad reputation, public reproach, or strong condemnation as the result of a shameful, criminal, or outrageous act: a time that will live in infamy.
infamous character or conduct.
an infamous act or circumstance.
Law. loss of rights, incurred by conviction of an infamous offense.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of infamy

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English infamye, from Latin infāmia, equivalent to infām(is) “ill-famed” (in-in-3 + fām(a)fame + -is adjective suffix) + -ia-y3

synonym study for infamy

1. See disgrace.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does infamy mean?

Infamy is the state of having a bad or evil reputation—the state of being infamous.

The adjective infamous means having, deserving, or resulting in a bad or evil reputation. It’s typically used to describe people, actions, and events. It’s especially used in the context of violent crimes, scandals, and tragedies.

Infamous is also sometimes used in a more general way to describe things, such as behavior, as shocking, detestable, vile, heinous, or scandalous.

Infamy can mean infamous behavior, or it can mean the condemnation resulting from such behavior. Sometimes, it means about the same thing as shame or disgrace.

Infamy is often used interchangeably with the word notoriety, which is the state or quality of being notorious—famous or well-known for a negative reason. But while notoriety can be used in a more neutral way to mean about the same thing as fame, infamy is always used negatively and usually involves a bad reputation.

Example: Their heinous crimes will live in infamy.

Where does infamy come from?

The first records of the word infamy come from the 1400s. It comes from the Latin infām(is), meaning “ill-famed” or “of evil repute.” At the root of infamy is the Latin fāma, which means “fame” and is also the basis of that word.

Infamy implies a sense of enduring fame—and not for something good. When a person is labeled as infamous, it usually means that they have done something (usually something very bad) to bring them infamy—an extremely bad reputation.

Perhaps the most famous use of the word is from President Franklin Roosevelt’s address following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor naval base on December 7, 1941, which he called “a date which will live in infamy.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to infamy?

What are some synonyms for infamy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with infamy

What are some words that often get used in discussing infamy?

How is infamy used in real life?

Infamy is always used negatively. It’s usually used in the context of crime or serious wrongdoing, unless it’s being used ironically.



Try using infamy!

Is infamy used correctly in the following sentence?

The author gained infamy for her extremely controversial novel.

How to use infamy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for infamy

/ (ˈɪnfəmɪ) /

noun plural -mies
the state or condition of being infamous
an infamous act or event

Word Origin for infamy

C15: from Latin infāmis of evil repute, from in- 1 + fāma 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