Simple Definition of defamation
: the act of saying false things in order to make people have a bad opinion of someone or something : the act of defaming someone or something
Examples of defamation in a sentence
The article was full of lies and defamations.
<accused the newspaper columnist of defamation of character>
Did You Know?
Harming someone's reputation in speech with falsehoods is known as slander, and doing the same thing in writing is known as libel (which sometimes includes speech as well). Any ordinary citizen who can claim to have suffered harm as a result of such defamation may sue. So why aren't politicians suing all the time? Because an exception is made for "public persons" (a category that includes most other celebrities as well), who must also prove that any such statement was made with "reckless disregard for the truth". And although, even by that standard, public persons are defamed all the time, most of them have decided that it's better to just grin and bear it.
First Known Use of defamation
Legal Definition of defamation
1 : communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person — see also libel, slander, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan — compare disparagement, false light, slander of title
2 : a defamatory communication <every repetition of the defamation is a publication — W. L. Prosser and W. P. Keeton>
Seen and Heard
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