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NOTORIETY

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NOTORIETY

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:27 pm

• notoriety •

Pronunciation: no-dê-rai-ê-tiee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Famous, well-known or widely known, often in a negative or pejorative sense. 2. A famous or widely known person, a notorious personality, as a show with several guest notorieties.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a good example of the difference between a word and its usage. Notoriety by itself simply means "famous, well-known"; however, it is used most often to refer to that which is known for its bad qualities, such as a notorious criminal. This makes the use of this word quite tricky since its connotations tend to be pejorative. Notoriety is the noun for the adjective notorious.

In Play: Here is an example that allows both the positive and negative senses of today's Good Word, depending on whether you are a radical Muslim or not: "Osama bin Laden gained singular notoriety around the world through his egregious acts of terrorism." However, this word may be used in a strictly positive sense: "The cormorant has a notoriety for its ability to dive deeply and quickly for fish."

Word History: Today's Good Word left a large path that is easy to trace. It comes immediately from Latin notorius "well-known" from notus, the past participle of noscere "to get to know". The original root word was Proto-Indo-European gno- "to know", which lost its initial G to become noscere. It came to English in several forms, once the G changed, as expected, to K. We obviously have know, whose meaning hasn't changed. But we also have can, which still means "know how to". Less obvious, that is it in kith of kith and kin, which originally meant "folks you know". It remained pretty much unchanged in Latin words like cognoscere "to get to know" and ignorare "to not know". We borrowed both these stems in words like cognition, incognito, ignore, and ignorance. (We can't ignore Patti Pace of Branford, Connecticut, who suggested today's word, but we must bring her a bit of notoriety by publicly thanking her for the thought.)
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notoriety

Postby Kate Winter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:44 pm

This is the first time I've disagreed with Dr Goodword -- you define "notoriety" (noun, def. 1) with the adjectival definition (i.e. of "notorious"). Surely "notoriety" means "fame" or "the state of being famous or well-known" -- not "famous, well-known"? Did you put this one out before your morning coffee?
Last edited by Kate Winter on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby misterdoe » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:50 pm

Which would you say is the stronger word, notoriety or infamy?
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Postby Kate Winter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:52 pm

My vote for the stronger word, pejoratively, is "infamy."
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Postby Slava » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:58 pm

Infamy is by far the stronger word. One can be like Phil Anders, the Good Doctor's notorious skirt chaser, but to reach infamy, you need a new Idi Amin type.
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Postby misterdoe » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:08 am

Hmm... I would have guessed the opposite.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:05 am

Yes, infamy is much the strongest negative word. On 1941Dec07, the Japanese bombed our ships in the Battle of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. We were not at war with Japan. In a radio speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 07, 1941 as "a date which will live in infamy". President George Bush thought it was 1941Dec09, apparently not enough infamy for him to remember.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:53 am

Probably have to go with infamy. Notoriety is more likely to be used referring to a smaller group. One may be notorious in an office for temper explosions, but infamy is more likely to refer to wider areas, perhaps national or worldwide.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:35 am

In a radio speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 07, 1941 as "a date which will live in infamy".
Probably would not have had the impact it did had FDR proclaimed December 7, 1941, as "a date which will live in notoriety". Infamy is the much stronger word, perjoratively speaking. Shortly after FDR's speech, my maternal grandfather told my grandmother that he was going down to the Navy recruiting station to enlist and he would return home promptly after signing the enlistment papers. As soon as he signed the papers, they took him right then and shipped him out to boot camp without allowing him to return home! My grandmother didn't see him until after the war was over. My paternal grandfather served in the Merchant Marines. Those were desperate times.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:28 am

Slava wrote:Infamy is by far the stronger word. One can be like Phil Anders, the Good Doctor's notorious skirt chaser, but to reach infamy, you need a new Idi Amin type.


al Bashir in Syria, or the guy running Sudan whose name
is similar. They are constantly with us.
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