notorious

Use the adjective notorious to describe people, places, or things that are famous for a bad reason.

A good synonym for notorious is infamous; both words mean "well-known, and not in a good way." A celebrity convicted of a series of crimes might be referred to as notorious, as might a book that has been banned in several countries. The word originally meant just "famous" and could carry either positive or negative connotations. Only in recent centuries did the negative uses start to outweigh the positive ones. In general, you'd rather be famous than notorious, unless you're looking to build a bad reputation.

Definitions of notorious
1

adj known widely and usually unfavorably

“a notorious gangster”
“the tenderloin district was notorious for vice”
Synonyms:
ill-famed, infamous
disreputable
lacking respectability in character or behavior or appearance

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.