defamation

noun def·a·ma·tion \ ˌde-fə-ˈmā-shən \

Definition of defamation

law
:the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person :the act of defaming another :calumny
  • defamation of character
  • a defamation lawsuit

defamatory

play \di-ˈfa-mə-tȯr-ē, dē-\ adjective

Examples of defamation in a Sentence

  1. The article was full of lies and defamations.

  2. accused the newspaper columnist of defamation of character

Recent Examples of defamation from the Web

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

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.

Origin and Etymology of defamation

see defame


DEFAMATION Defined for English Language Learners

defamation

noun

Definition of defamation for English Language Learners

  • : 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


Law Dictionary

defamation

noun de·fa·ma·tion \ ˌde-fə-ˈmā-shən \

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

What made you want to look up defamation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

serious difficulty or misfortune

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!