July 25, 2014
notorious (adjective)
\noh-TOR-ee-us\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: generally known and talked of; especially : widely and unfavorably known
How do you use it?
"He had had his passage out from Liverpool, and during the whole voyage had been quite a notorious character, as a teller of anecdotes and cracker of jokes." (Charles Dickens, "American Notes for General Circulation")
Are you a word wiz?

Are you in the know? Take our quiz and find out. "Notorious" comes from the Latin word "noscere," meaning "to know." Three of the words below also come from "noscere." Which word does NOT?

You hit it right on the nose if you chose D! Word scholars nosed around and discovered that the root of "nose" is "nosu," an Old English word that means "nose." "Notion," "noble," "notice," and "notorious" however, all share the Latin "noscere" as their ancestor. "Noble," meaning "famous, notable," came into English in the 1200s, while "notice," meaning "warning or indication or something" or "announcement," arrived later, during the 1400s. "Notion," meaning "idea, conception," and "notorious" both came into English in the 1500s. Now you know!
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