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Notorious vs. Infamous: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on December 3, 2023
Notorious means well-known for a negative reason; infamous implies being famous for a wicked or criminal act.

Key Differences

Notorious is used to describe someone or something famous for a bad quality or deed. Infamous, while similar, often conveys a sense of extreme moral condemnation.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023
A notorious individual might be known for any negative trait, like rudeness or arrogance. Infamous typically suggests a more serious level of wrongdoing, such as criminality or gross immorality.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023
Notoriety can stem from various aspects, not strictly illegal or immoral. Infamy, however, is usually associated with actions that are universally condemned.
Huma Saeed
Dec 03, 2023
The notoriety of a person or act does not necessarily imply historical significance. Infamous acts or individuals are often remembered historically for their negative impact.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023
Notorious can be used in a slightly less severe context, sometimes even with a hint of admiration for the audacity involved. Infamous is more unambiguously negative, with no such undertones.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Connotation

Negative fame for any bad trait or deed
Extreme moral condemnation for actions
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

Severity

Can range from mild to severe
Usually associated with serious wrongdoing
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

Association with Illegality

Not necessarily illegal
Often related to criminality
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

Historical Significance

May not be historically significant
Often remembered for negative impact
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Ambiguity in Perception

Sometimes admired for audacity
Unambiguously negative, no admiration
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023
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Notorious and Infamous Definitions

Notorious

Notorious can describe someone known for negative attributes.
The actor became notorious for his off-screen antics.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Infamous

Infamous indicates extreme moral reprehensibility.
The criminal was infamous for his heinous crimes.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Notorious

Notorious refers to being widely known, typically unfavorably.
He was notorious for breaking promises.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Infamous

Infamous can denote notoriousness to a higher, more negative degree.
The scandal made her infamous worldwide.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Notorious

Notorious implies a state of being well-known for some undesirable feature.
The neighborhood was notorious for its high crime rate.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Infamous

Infamous implies being famous, particularly for something evil or criminal.
The site was infamous as a hideout for outlaws.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Notorious

Notorious means famous for a bad reason.
The company was notorious for its poor customer service.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Infamous

Infamous means having a reputation of the worst kind.
The dictator was infamous for his brutal regime.
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Notorious

Notorious can also suggest a reputation of a more scandalous nature.
The politician was notorious for his controversial statements.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Infamous

Infamous refers to being well-known for some bad quality or deed.
The spy became infamous for betraying his country.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Notorious

Known widely and usually unfavorably
A notorious pirate.
A region notorious for floods.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Infamous

Having an exceedingly bad reputation; notorious
An infamous outlaw.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

Infamous

Causing or deserving severe public condemnation; heinous
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury" (US Constitution, Amendment 5).
Sumera Saeed
Nov 19, 2023

FAQs

Is infamous always related to criminal acts?

Often, but it can also relate to actions widely seen as morally wrong.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

How does the media use the term notorious?

Media often uses it to describe people or acts known for negative reasons.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

How is infamous defined?

Infamous refers to being well-known for a wicked or criminal act.
Huma Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

Are infamous people always historically significant?

Typically, their actions have significant historical or societal impact.
Harlon Moss
Dec 03, 2023

Is infamous a more severe term than notorious?

Generally, infamous implies a higher degree of moral condemnation.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

What does notorious mean?

Notorious means being famous for a negative reason.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

Can a place be notorious?

Yes, places can be notorious for various reasons like high crime rates.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

Can someone be both notorious and infamous?

Yes, if they are known for a bad trait that is also morally reprehensible.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

Can the notoriety be positive?

Rarely, as it mainly carries a negative connotation.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Can a notorious person redeem their reputation?

Yes, through positive actions and changes in behavior.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

How do literature and art depict notorious figures?

Often as complex characters with a negative reputation.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Can notoriety change over time?

Yes, as societal norms and perceptions evolve.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

Are infamous acts always illegal?

Not always, but they are typically considered highly unethical.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Does infamous always imply fame?

Yes, but specifically for negative reasons.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023

What makes someone infamous?

Actions that are widely and severely morally condemned.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

What role does culture play in defining infamy?

Cultural norms heavily influence what is considered infamous.
Janet White
Dec 03, 2023

Can organizations be notorious?

Yes, for reasons like unethical practices or scandals.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

Can infamy affect a person's legacy?

Yes, it can significantly impact how they are remembered.
Harlon Moss
Dec 03, 2023

How do historical figures become notorious?

Through actions or traits that are remembered unfavorably.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 03, 2023

Is being infamous always a bad thing?

Typically, as it relates to negative moral judgments.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 03, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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