I would like to know the difference in the usage of the two words that translate "famous": известный and знаменитый. Can I use them interchangeably both for famous people and famous things (museums, cities, book, quotations...). For example, if I need to translate "Michelangelo was a famous sculptor" I'd better choose the first, the second, or it doesn't matter? I need this info as regards a written text, not an oral context.. thank you!

1 Answer 1


"Знаменитый" has a greater degree of fame than "известный".

"Знаменитый" is "famous, celebrated, illustrious, outstanding, superlative", "известный" is "well-known, known".

знаменитый артист – famous actor, celebrated actor

знаменитая книга учёного ­- famous book of the scientist

Нижний Новгород знаменит своей промышленной ярмаркой ­- Nizhny Novgorod is famous for its fair


известный художник — well-known painter

известный учёный — noted scientist

известный чем-либо — noted for something

он известен своей честностью — he is known for his honesty; he has a name for honesty

As for Michelangelo, he was definitely "знаменитый скульптор".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.