Word Origins

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.
Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins

Word Formation Resource

defamable,  defamate,  defamation,  defamative,  defamator,  defamatory,  defame,  defamed,  defamer,  defamous,  defamy,  famed,  far-famed,  ill-famed,  infamous,  infamy,  well-famed,  world-famous

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