Synonym Study 1.Famous,celebrated,eminent,distinguished refer to someone or something widely and favorably known. Famous is the general word: a famous lighthouse.Celebrated originally referred to something commemorated, but now usually refers to someone or something widely known for conspicuous merit, services, etc.: a celebrated writer.Eminent implies high standing among one's contemporaries, especially in one's own profession or craft: an eminent physician.Distinguished adds to eminent the idea of honors conferred more or less publicly: a distinguished scientist.
late 14c., from Anglo-Fr. famous, from O.Fr. fameus, from L. famosus, from fama (see fame). A native word for this was O.E. namcuð, lit. "name-known." Catch phrase famous last words "remark likely to be proved wrong" is first attested 1948.