What is the difference between Notorious And Infamous?
By Mr. Melanesian, Philippines – 11th June 2007.
Let's deal with the pronunciation of the word notorious first. The first syllable is like the word no. The o in the second syllable is like the or in words like port, sort and north. The i is like the i in kit, bit and sit, while the ou sounds like the a in China and amount. The main stress is on the second syllable. The word is pronounced notorious. Some people tend to pronounce the o in the first syllable like the a in China.
A person who is notorious is well known for something discreditable and something bad. The word is usually associated with something negative. One can use this word with people as well as things.
Here are a few examples.
• The notorious criminal escaped from prison.
• It is a city notorious for its cyclones.
• I wouldn't believe him if I were you. He is a notorious liar.
Many people think that infamous is the opposite of famous. It is not. The first syllable is like the word in. The a in the second syllable and the vowels ou in the final syllable are pronounced like the a in China and amount.
Like the word notorious, infamous also means, well known for something bad. Infamous, however, is a much stronger word than notorious. It suggests being evil or wicked and it is this undesirable feature in a person or thing that the word highlights. So, when you say that someone is infamous, it implies that he/she is a wicked person, though he or she may not be famous on that account. In this case, you are making a moral judgment on a person. In your opinion he is wicked. A person who is notorious need not be evil or wicked.
Here are a few examples.
• The infamous warden was sent to jail after a lengthy trial.
• He will be remembered in history for this infamous deed.
• He was a leader infamous for his cruelty.
According to some dictionaries this word is much more literary than notorious. This is the difference between Notorious and Infamous.
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