calumny

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

Definition of calumny

plural

calumnies

  1. 1 :  a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation denounced his opponent for his defamatory insinuations and calumny

  2. 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.

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


First Known Use: 15th century


CALUMNY Defined for English Language Learners

calumny

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

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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