The difference between “famous” and “infamous”

Today, we’re going to talk about the difference between these two words: “famous” and “infamous”.

We see many people make the mistake of using these words interchangeably. However, the meanings are different!

Now, take note that making this mistake is common and completely understandable. For example, words such as “valuable” and “invaluable” mean the same thing.  

If you look up the difference between the two on Merriam-Webster.com, here’s what you get:

Famous means “widely known” whereas infamous means “having a reputation of the worst kind.”

So, for example, you would say something/someone is “famous” because it’s well-known or popular.

This restaurant is famous for its delicious nasi lemak and roti canai.
Beyonce is one of the most famous singers in the world right now.

Someone/something is “infamous” if it were well known for something bad. It comes from the noun “infamy”, which means the state of being well known for some bad quality or deed.

Adolf Hitler is infamous for the crimes he committed in World War II in Europe.
Mad Cow Disease is the cause of one of the most infamous cases of food poisoning throughout history.

Do you see the difference?

So there you have it. I hope you’ve found this post helpful and we’ll talk you to again soon!

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