Definition of famous in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪməs/


1Known about by many people: a famous star the country is famous for its natural beauty
More example sentences
  • Pitcairners are famous for the culture of silence that pervades their small society.
  • The Old Inn at Gairloch is famous for its seafood and game but it is worth holding back to enjoy pudding.
  • The city is a World Heritage Site and is famous for its classical music, beer and marzipan.
well known, celebrated, prominent, famed, popular, having made a name for oneself;
renowned, noted, notable, eminent, pre-eminent, leading, distinguished, esteemed, respected, venerable, august, of high standing, of distinction, of repute;
illustrious, acclaimed, honoured, exalted, great, glorious, remarkable, signal, legendary, lionized, much publicized;
notorious, infamous
2 informal Excellent: Galway stormed to a famous victory
More example sentences
  • As he was to do three years later, White tackled England to a standstill to gain a famous victory.
  • In the end the Bay just didn't have enough juice in the tank to claim a famous victory.
  • Kuerten reaches match point and records a famous victory in just over two hours.



famous for being famous

Having no recognizable reason for one’s fame other than high media exposure: television reporters are now often more famous for being famous than for their work
More example sentences
  • These are people who are famous for being famous, ciphers for our fantasies, cartoon characters with extravagant lives.
  • Both women are certainly easy on the eye, but both are merely famous for being famous and that is about the sum of their achievements.
  • In this age of Z-list celebrities who are famous for being famous, it's so refreshing to meet a real star.

famous for fifteen minutes


famous last words

Said as an ironic comment on an overconfident assertion that may later be proved wrong: ‘I’ll be perfectly OK on my own.’ ‘Famous last words,’ she thought to herself
More example sentences
  • Perhaps the most famous last words in military history were uttered by an American Civil War officer, John Sedgwick: They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.
  • So for now I'm off to make my final preparations in the hope that all runs smoothly… famous last words!
  • This time we have ‘no return to boom and bust’, a mantra which could turn out to be Gordon Brown's famous last words.



Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪməsnəs/
Example sentences
  • They may be right to feel hunted by the press, but feeling hunted by the press is an aspect of self-hunting too: their famousness is an occasion for grief, and their grief is a constituent part of their fame.
  • I'm talking former Cabinet ministers or old British television personality level of famousness.
  • But John Safran is funnier and Jewish yet enjoys nowhere near the same hemisphere of famousness.


Late Middle English: from Old French fameus, from Latin famosus 'famed', from fama (see fame).

  • fame from Middle English:

    In early use fame could mean not only ‘celebrity’ but ‘reputation’, a sense that survives in the old term for a brothel, a house of ill fame. The word comes from Latin fama ‘report, fame’. The desire to win fame has often been seen as a positive force to stir somebody up to action: in the 17th century John Milton wrote ‘Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise…To scorn delights, and live laborious days.’ The writer Howard Spring borrowed Fame is the Spur as the title of a novel that was made into a film in 1947. Famous (Late Middle English) is from the same root. To be famous for fifteen minutes comes from the prediction by the American artist Andy Warhol in 1968 that ‘In the future everybody will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.’ A few years later famous for being famous is recorded to describe someone whose only real distinction is their celebrity status.

Words that rhyme with famous

ignoramus, Seamus, shamus

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fam¦ous

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