Difference Between Famous and Infamous

Famous vs Infamous

There are many pairs of words that are confusing for the non natives. Famous and infamous are words that have somewhat similar meanings in the sense that both the famous as well as infamous are well known and recognized. However, while people want to be famous, they dread being infamous. Why it is so? What is the difference between famous and infamous? Let us find out in this article.

Infamous is not an antonym of famous, neither is it a synonym. If a famous person is popular, so is an infamous person. In fact, infamous people have far more recognition value than the famous. However, knowing when to call a person famous and when to call him infamous is very necessary if you do not want to offend him. This is because a famous person is known for all the good reasons while the infamous person is recognized for ill deeds or other wrong reasons.


A person is famous recognized easily for all the good reasons. He or she is held in high esteem, and whenever he is talked about, it is in a positive manner. For example, when we talk about Mother Teresa or even remember her, it is for all the good things she stood for. She was a saint and worked for the poor and the downtrodden. She is a person who is revered in all parts of the world and when she was alive, even the rich and the powerful bowed in front of this great lady, such was her charisma and personality.

Let us take another example of Barrack Obama. He is one figure that is extremely famous all over the world being the first black President of the biggest democracy of the world, the US. He is talked about in a positive manner, but as is the wont of some people and the cruel irony of politics, he is bound to have opponents having antagonistic views. However, Obama still remains famous in a positive manner.


When a person or a thing becomes famous for all the wrong reasons, it is referred to as being infamous. An infamous person is well known, but no one wants to emulate him and become known in the manner that he did. Probably no other person illustrates this thinking in a better manner than Adolf Hitler, the man responsible for the Holocaust, killings of hundreds of thousands of Jews during WW II, and also as the man who caused so much of destruction and earned the hatred and ill will of the people around the world.

Famous vs Infamous

• Infamous is also famous, but for all the wrong reasons.

• Infamous is the bad or the evil guy while famous is a celebrity, and he is remembered in a positive manner.

• All of us want to be famous, but none desires to be infamous

• While Mother Teresa is famous for her compassion and service for the downtrodden, Adolf Hitler will remain infamous for his cruelty and hand in Holocaust and widespread destruction

  • aaronratner

    You should check your facts. Mother Teresa was far from a saint. She was a monster and did nothing to help the poor. In fact, she saw to it that the sick got sicker and the poor remained poor. You need to reexamine what you know about her. When I hear her name I want to vomit.