Notorious vs. Famous

This word is so frequently misused:  many people think it is synonymous with “famous” or “renowned.”  It does mean those things—but always in a negative way.  Charles Manson and OJ Simpson are notorious.  Osama bin Laden was notorious.  You would never say the singer Adele is notorious.  President Obama’s daughters are not notorious. Santa Claus isn’t either.  Those last are all examples of people, real and not so real, who are undoubtedly famous—but they’ve done nothing to deserve to be called notorious. Save that for the baddies.

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