Simple Definition of calumny
: an untrue statement that is made to damage someone's reputation; also : the act of making such statements
Full Definition of calumny
1 : a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation
2 : the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation
Examples of calumny in a sentence
They uttered calumnies against him.
He was the target of calumny for his unpopular beliefs.
Did You Know?
Calumny made an appearance in these famous words from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go." The word had been in the English language for a while, though, before Hamlet uttered it. It first entered English in the 15th century and comes from the Middle French word calomnie of the same meaning. Calomnie, in turn, derives from the Latin word calumnia, (meaning "false accusation," "false claim," or "trickery"), which itself traces to the Latin verb calvi, meaning "to deceive."
Origin of calumny
Middle English calumnye, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French calomnie, from Latin calumnia, from calvi to deceive; perhaps akin to Old English hōlian to slander, Greek kēlein to beguile
First Known Use: 15th century
Seen and Heard
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