calumny

noun cal·um·ny \ ˈka-ləm-nē also ˈkal-yəm- \

Definition of calumny

plural calumnies
1 : a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation
  • denounced his opponent for his defamatory insinuations and calumny
2 : the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation
  • He was the target of calumny for his unpopular beliefs.

calumnious

play \kə-ˈləm-nē-əs\ adjective

calumniously

adverb

calumny was our Word of the Day on 12/10/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of calumny in a Sentence

  1. They uttered calumnies against him.

  2. He was the target of calumny for his unpopular beliefs.

Recent Examples of calumny from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calumny.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 and Etymology of calumny

Middle English calumnye, from Medieval French & Latin; Medieval French calomnie, from Latin calumnia, from calvi to deceive; perhaps akin to Old English hōlian to slander, Greek kēlein to beguile


CALUMNY Defined for English Language Learners

calumny

noun

Definition of calumny for English Language Learners

  • : an untrue statement that is made to damage someone's reputation; also : the act of making such statements



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