the difference between famed and famous

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New Member
hi there,
can you tell me the difference between ''famed'' and ''famous'?
thanks all in advanced !
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  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would say the main difference is that famed has to be used with a preposition (famed for).

    "He is famous." You cannot say "he is famed".
    "A famous person". You cannot say "a famed person".

    Otherwise the meaning is very similar, if not the same.
    "Sydney is famous/famed for its opera house".

    In "Wyatt Earp was famed/famous for his lightning draw" I see no difference.
    But famed can also express notoriousness (i.e. describing someone in a negative light).
    "He was famed for his inability to control his temper." Here I think famous would have a wider meaning, e.g. throughout the town or county, or even country.

    I'm sure others may have a different opinion.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    I said earlier that you cannot use famed before a noun. However, this does not appear to be true, as there are several examples (although in the minority) in the British National Corpus.
    It seems that famed is used by more and more people in the same way that they use famous.

    Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage gives one example of famed before a noun:
    "One location was the famed Media Lab at the Massachusettws institute of Technology".

    Does anyone else have a comment on famed versus famous?


    Senior Member

    Estoy haciendo unos ejercicios de rellenar espacios. En la solución al final del libro pone:

    "Her beauty was famed all over the country; everybody had heard about her.

    Mi pregunta es:

    ¿Se podria utilizar "famous" en lugar de "famed"?



    Senior Member
    UK English
    "Famed" can indeed be used before a noun. For example, here are various instances of established media outlets using the phrase "famed attorney":

    Google News link
    As I said, the use of "famed" before a noun is uncommon in the British corpus(and in COCA) compared with "famous". I'm not certain of the difference (if the usage is acceptable), but "famed" seems to mean celebrated (i.e. a celebrity) rather than famous (well-known).
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