Subscribe Today

Resources

Notoriety
Noting With Disapproval

By Evan Jenkins

If “notorious,” which has nothing negative in its roots, nonetheless has come to have the very negative meaning “infamous,” what is “notoriety”? One dictionary’s definition — “the quality of being notorious” — seems unassailable. So when the writer said it was “not in Thomas’s personality to court notoriety,” the passage was open to misunderstanding; other things made it clear that the aim was a compliment, and the word a poor choice. As a synonym for simple fame, “notoriety” has gained ground. But it’s still better used to mean a bad reputation — ill fame. Less room for misunderstanding.

CJR

Current Cover

Sept / Oct 08

Table of Contents Browse Back Issues Subscribe Attitude Adjustment Blind Spot More...

The Associated Press. Miami, Florida. Photo by Sean Hemmerle. More...

We want to make a difference.
You can help. Here's how More...

CJR's online guide to what major media companies own.