libel


1li·bel

noun \ˈlī-bəl\

: the act of publishing a false statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone

Full Definition of LIBEL

1
a :  a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought
b archaic :  a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
2
a :  a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression
b (1) :  a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt
(2) :  defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) :  the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) :  the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel

Examples of LIBEL

  1. He sued the newspaper for libel.
  2. The newspaper was found guilty of libel.
  3. The newspaper's attorneys argued that the article was not a libel.
  4. To meet the Supreme Court's definition of libel involving a public figure, a quotation must not only be made up or materially altered. It must also defame the person quoted, and damage his or her reputation or livelihood … —Jane Gross, New York Times, 5 June 1993

Origin of LIBEL

Middle English, written declaration, from Anglo-French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber book
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

Rhymes with LIBEL

2li·bel

verb \ˈlī-bəl\

: to write and publish a false statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of (someone)

li·beled or li·belledli·bel·ing or li·bel·ling \-b(ə-)liŋ\

Full Definition of LIBEL

intransitive verb
:  to make libelous statements
transitive verb
:  to make or publish a libel against (see 1libel)
li·bel·er \-b(ə-)lər\ noun
li·bel·ist \-bə-list\ noun

Examples of LIBEL

  1. The jury found that the article libeled him.
  2. <the court decided that the newspaper's reportage of the former mayor, while irresponsible, did not constitute an effort to libel him>
  3. And in Oklahoma last year, lawyers filed a class-action suit against a group supporting tort reform, saying they had libeled trial lawyers. —Judith Miller, New York Times, 11 June 1996

Origin of LIBEL

(see 1libel)
First Known Use: 1588

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

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