[ noh-tuh-rahy-i-tee ]
/ ˌnoʊ təˈraɪ ɪ ti /
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noun, plural no·to·ri·e·ties.
the state, quality, or character of being notorious or widely known: a craze for notoriety.
Chiefly British. a notorious or celebrated person.


1 disrepute, ill-repute, shame, infamy.
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Origin of notoriety

1585–95; <Medieval Latin nōtōrietās, equivalent to nōtōri(us) notorious + -etās, variant (after -i-) of -ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does notoriety mean?

Notoriety is the state or quality of being famous or well-known, especially for a negative reason.

If often means the state or quality of being notorious, which is especially used to describe people who are widely known and viewed unfavorably for their actions, such as notorious criminals. It can also be applied to events, as in a notorious scandal.

This sense of notorious is often used interchangeably with the word infamous. Strictly speaking, infamous means having, deserving, or resulting in a bad or evil reputation, while notorious usually implies that a person is both famous and disliked. Still, they usually mean just about the same thing. A noun form of infamous, infamy, is often used interchangeably with notoriety.

Notorious can also mean known for a particular trait or action, not necessarily a bad one, as in My aunt is notorious for arriving late to family events. 

Notoriety can refer to the state of being known in this way. In some cases, it can mean much the same thing as fame, and in fact the two words are often used side by side, as in It’s unbelievable what some people will do for fame and notoriety. 

Notoriety is often discussed as being earned, gained, or achieved, as in The company gained notoriety for its irreverent marketing campaigns. 

Example: He gained notoriety for his role in the scandal, and his reputation has never recovered.

Where does notoriety come from?

The first records of the word notoriety come from the 1500s. It comes from the Medieval Latin word nōtōrius, meaning “well-known” or “public,” from the Late Latin nōtōria, meaning “news” or “a notice,” and nōtōrium, “a criminal charge.” It’s ultimately rooted in the Latin verb nōscere, “to know.” Its ending is a variant of the suffix -ity, which is used to form nouns involving a state or condition.

Notoriety involves a person being known for something specific, and it’s usually not something good. Often, the worse the thing is, the more notoriety the person has. That’s why the word is most closely associated with people like violent criminals whose crimes are widely known. Still, the word isn’t always used in a completely negative way.

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What are some other forms related to notoriety?

What are some synonyms for notoriety?

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

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

How is notoriety used in real life?

Notoriety commonly refers to the state of being famous for a negative reason, but it can also be used more generally to refer to the state of being well-known for something.


Try using notoriety!

True or False?

Notoriety can be used interchangeably with the word infamy.

How to use notoriety in a sentence