The Infamous Colorado River

A blog post showed up in my Colorado River news feed, about a winery on the west slope in Colorado, that is irrigated with water from “the infamous Colorado River” (emphasis added)

What an odd way of describing the Colorado. Is the great muddy lifeline of the West really “notoriously evil,” “having a reputation of the worst kind”?

A little googling showed me that it’s a common turn of phrase:

I was inclined to think it was just lazy writing, but in fact there were some gems that made sense:

Sometimes it’s not the River itself that’s notoriously evil. Sometimes it’s laws. Or toads.


  1. Actually I think you’re being unfair to the toad. According to WP, they’re no more poisonous than the average toad. What they are is hallucinogenic (as a component of their poisonous secretion). So when that linked site says “The Colorado River Toad is NOT sold for human consumption or for 5-MEO DMT extractions!” it would appear they mean the exact opposite.

    Infamous sounds about right for that law, though.

    On a related subject, I heard the other day on NPR that one or another mainstay of the lexicographic establishment is throwing in the towel and allowing “irregardless.” Now that’s infamous.

  2. john fleck,

    No more suspense for you…it was actually lazy writing. I remember wondering what word to use and being too lazy to come up with something better. I am as surprised as you to see that it has been used more often. I actually marvel at the importance and beauty of this river (and all other rivers). I knew when I picked the lazy word, infamous, it did not do the river justice. Not even close.

    Being lazy, too, makes me desire finding guest-post bloggers for my financial/ag economics and sustainability blog. Interested, anyone?

    Amateur writer,

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