In honor of Cinco de Mayo earlier this week, let’s return to the fictional town of Santa Poco and talk about the meaning of “infamous.” The Three Amigos went to Mexico when called defeat “the infamous El Guapo,” but perhaps they were a bit confused.
Dusty: “What does that mean? ‘Infamous’?”
Ned: “Infamous means he’s more than famous. He’s not only famous, he’s infamous…”
Oh, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short – not many movies can have a plot entirely built upon the misuse of a word, but you three made it happen.
Remember, “infamous” actually means “well-known for bad character or deeds.” It’s a synonym of another commonly confused word, “notorious,” which is quite different from “notable” or “noteworthy.”
These are words we really should know for many reasons – because if we don’t, it’s possible we’ll end up in a gun battle in Mexico that uses real bullets, surrounded by a plethora of piñatas, with only medium rare bat to eat.