“Notorious” means famous in a bad way, as in “Nero was notorious for giving long recitals of his tedious poetry.” Occasionally writers deliberately use it in a positive sense to suggest irony or wit, but this is a very feeble and tired device. Nothing admirable should be called “notorious.”

The same goes for “notoriety,” which also indicates a bad reputation.

See also “infamous.”

Back to list of errors


Common Errors front cover