"infamous" = famous

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Feb 20 21:33:11 UTC 2005

A handful of further exx.:

" !katy! just infamous for now...Welcome to my site!...Everyone else has a web site these days, so I figured, why not me too?" -- !katy! Feb. 10, 2005, at [ http://theinfamous99.tripod.com/ ].

"Part of The Savoy Group, Simpson's-In-The-Strand is infamous for being one of London's most historic restaurants serving a plethora of exquisitely prepared traditional British dishes. Simpson's-In-The-Strand comprises of three restaurants, the Grand Divan, Simply Simpsons and Knights Bar. This is an ideal venue for private parties, conferences and wedding receptions. Covent Garden."  View London.co.uk,  Feb. 18, 2005 [ www.viewlondon.co.uk/info_restaurant_5508.html ]

"Driven by the fierce, raw energy of pure metallic hardcore, Sacramento’s HOODS have become infamous for their determination and no holds barred work ethic."  --Victory Records, Feb. 19, 2005
[ www.victoryrecords.com/Webstore/ MerchByArtist.asp?ArtistID=1015 ]

"Now, you're infamous for doing very detailed research on the characters
you write, especially the relatively obscure ones."  -- "KurtB: Question About FireStar?" (Usenet: rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe), Aug. 28, 1999, posted by "Isaac Sher."

"The ease of use that Apple is infamous for with its Macintosh computer line was something the company wanted to bring to their digital music player. The iPod only has 4 buttons on it and a scroll wheel." AppleNova Forums iPod Evaluation, July 5, 2004, posted by "Messiahtosh"  [ http://forums.applenova.com/archive/index.php/t-817.html ]

"Ben, you are famous! ... Ben, you are infamous now!" -- "Ben, you are famous! Newest Beast Wars episode" (Usenet: alt.toys.transformers), Oct. 29, 1996, posted by "Gordon Ho."

I might add that in the great majority of occurrences of "infamous" I've seen on the Net, the word is used correctly.


Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Laurence Horn
Subject: Re: "infamous" = famous

At 5:13 PM -0800 2/19/05, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>Becoming endemic but not in OED, "infamous" as "well-known; famous" :

I've noticed this amelioration for awhile, but I don't think it's as
simple as Jon's equivalence above, or at least not yet--it's more
like "famous in a pop-cultural domain" or "famous (only) for being
famous". Or at least that's the way I've often seen it. So it can
be the "infamous Paris Hilton" or (slightly less likely) "the
infamous Brad Pitt" but much less likely "the infamous Mahatma
Gandhi", no matter how famous and well-known he was. Let's google

"infamous Brad Pitt" 116
"infamous Mahatma Gandhi" 0

Of course, context is a problem--"infamous Paris Hilton" picks up
5690, but mostly of the form "the infamous Paris Hilton sex tapes" or
the like. Still, I think the distinction is real: "infamous" is
still a hyponym of "famous", rather than a synonym, although its
territory has expanded.


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