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defame

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verb de·fame \di-ˈfām, dē-\

Simple Definition of defame

  • : to hurt the reputation of (someone or something) especially by saying things that are false or unfair

Full Definition of defame

de·famedde·fam·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  disgrace

  3. 2 :  to harm the reputation of by libel or slander

  4. 3 archaic :  accuse

de·fam·er noun

Examples of defame

  1. He says he was defamed by reports that falsely identified him as a former gangster.

  2. <of course I want to win the election, but I refuse to defame my opponent in order to do so>



Origin of defame

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French deffamer, diffamer, from Medieval Latin defamare, alteration of Latin diffamare, from dis- + fama reputation, fame


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of defame

malign, traduce, asperse, vilify, calumniate, defame, slander mean to injure by speaking ill of. malign suggests specific and often subtle misrepresentation but may not always imply deliberate lying <the most maligned monarch in British history>. traduce stresses the resulting ignominy and distress to the victim <so traduced the governor that he was driven from office>. asperse implies continued attack on a reputation often by indirect or insinuated detraction <both candidates aspersed the other's motives>. vilify implies attempting to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse <no criminal was more vilified in the press>. calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions <falsely calumniated as a traitor>. defame stresses the actual loss of or injury to one's good name <sued them for defaming her reputation>. slander stresses the suffering of the victim <town gossips slandered their good name>.


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