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Famous vs. Notable: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 13, 2023
Famous refers to being widely known and recognized, often for achievements or celebrity, while notable means worthy of attention or remarkable, not necessarily widely known.

Key Differences

Famous is typically used to describe individuals or entities widely known across a large audience, often associated with celebrity or public recognition. Notable, in contrast, implies being worthy of attention or recognition due to qualities like significance or distinction in a particular field.
In the context of media and public attention, famous individuals are those who have attained widespread recognition and are often subjects of popular discourse. Notable individuals or achievements, however, may be recognized within more specific circles or for particular qualities, without needing widespread fame.
The term famous often carries connotations of glamour, public interest, and sometimes sensationalism, linked with celebrities, renowned artists, or high-profile figures. Notable, on the other hand, suggests a sense of merit or importance, potentially without the glamour or widespread appeal.
Famous places, people, or events are known to a large number of people and are easily recognizable. In contrast, notable places, people, or events are distinguished by their significance or impact, which might be acknowledged by those with specific interest or expertise in the area.
Being famous often implies a broader impact on popular culture or society, transcending specific fields or disciplines. Being notable suggests a more focused recognition, such as being noteworthy within a scientific community, historical context, or a particular domain of expertise.

Comparison Chart

Scope of Recognition

Wide, often across various fields.
Specific, usually within a field.

Basis of Recognition

Often for celebrity, public appeal.
For significance, distinction.

Association with Popularity

High public visibility, popularity.
Recognized for merit, not popularity.

Duration of Recognition

Can be transient or long-lasting.
Often lasting within a field.

Type of Impact

Cultural, societal influence.
Influence within a specific area.

Famous and Notable Definitions


Having a widespread reputation, usually of a positive nature.
Albert Einstein is famous for his theory of relativity.


Worthy of attention or recognition for being remarkable or significant.
Marie Curie is a notable scientist for her work on radioactivity.


Known to the general population, often through media.
The Grand Canyon is a famous natural landmark in the United States.


Distinguished or outstanding in a particular area or field.
The Hubble Space Telescope has made notable contributions to astronomy.


Having achieved celebrity status in society.
Oprah Winfrey is a famous television personality.


Remarkably good or of high quality.
Shakespeare's Hamlet is a notable work in English literature.


Celebrated or renowned in public discourse.
The Beatles were a famous band from Liverpool.


Prominent or important within a particular sphere.
The Treaty of Versailles is notable in the history of World War I.


Widely known and recognized by many people.
Mona Lisa is a famous painting known around the world.


Deserving of being noted or mentioned for excellence.
The discovery of penicillin was a notable milestone in medical history.


Well or widely known.


Worthy of note or notice; remarkable
Notable beauty.
Sled dogs that are notable for their stamina.


First-rate; excellent
Had a famous time at the party.


Characterized by excellence or distinction; eminent
Formed a commission of notable citizens.




Perceptible; noticeable
They spoke with a notable accent and were immediately recognized as foreigners.


In the public eye.
Some people are only famous within their city.


To make famous; to bring renown to.


Celebrated in fame or public report; renowned; mach talked of; distinguished in story; - used in either a good or a bad sense, chiefly the former; often followed by for; as, famous for erudition, for eloquence, for military skill; a famous pirate.
Famous for a scolding tongue.


Widely known and esteemed;
A famous actor
A celebrated musician
A famed scientist
An illustrious judge
A notable historian
A renowned painter


What defines someone as famous?

Being widely known and recognized by a large audience.

Is fame always positive?

Fame can be positive or negative, depending on context and perception.

Do notable achievements require widespread recognition?

Not always; they can be recognized within specific circles or fields.

Can fame be temporary?

Yes, fame can be fleeting or enduring, depending on various factors.

What makes something notable?

Being significant, remarkable, or outstanding in a certain context.

Can a person be notable but not famous?

Yes, one can be notable in a specific field without being widely famous.

What are examples of notable works?

Significant scientific discoveries, literary works, or historical events.

Do famous people always have notable achievements?

Not necessarily; fame and notable achievements are different.

How do people become famous?

Through media, achievements, celebrity status, or public exposure.

Is notability subjective?

It can be, as it often depends on expertise or interest in a specific field.

Are all famous people influential?

Many are, but fame doesn't always equate to influence.

Can a place be famous and notable?

Yes, if it's widely known and has significant historical or cultural value.

Is the impact of fame always immediate?

Not necessarily; the impact of fame can vary in timing and extent.

Do famous works always stand the test of time?

Not always; some gain temporary fame while others remain timeless.

Is notability always based on positive contributions?

Mostly, though it can also stem from significant but controversial actions.

Can notability lead to fame?

In some cases, notable achievements can lead to broader fame.

Are famous people always recognized in public?

Often, but not always, depending on their level of fame.

Do historical figures always become famous?

Many do, but some gain recognition only within certain circles.

Can a theory or concept be notable?

Yes, if it has significant impact or value in its field.

Can an event be notable but not widely known?

Yes, especially if it's significant within a specialized field.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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