defame

verb
de·​fame | \ di-ˈfām How to pronounce defame (audio) , dē- \
defamed; defaming

Definition of defame

transitive verb

1 law : to harm the reputation of by communicating false statements about : to harm the reputation of by libel (see libel entry 1 sense 2a) or slander (see slander entry 2 sense 2) defamed her character
2 archaic : accuse defamed of witchcraft
3 archaic : disgrace

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Other Words from defame

defamer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of defame in a Sentence

He says he was defamed by reports that falsely identified him as a former gangster. of course I want to win the election, but I refuse to defame my opponent in order to do so
Recent Examples on the Web Groups of young men in threes and fours walked up and down Eighth Avenue aimlessly, less looking for the train, or a car home, than hanging around and waiting for a fresh chance to defame the slight point guard from Atlanta. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 2 June 2021 Snyder previously had accused the wife of former general manager Scot McLoughan, Jessica, of leaking unflattering reports about him to the media in an attempt to defame him. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, 15 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, there are few gossip rags claiming their First Amendment rights to defame prominent people anymore. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 23 Mar. 2021 Names have been removed from the stories, so as not to defame anyone, but each entry is tagged with the author's school. Hilary Whiteman, CNN, 6 Mar. 2021 It is designed to cement the new president’s legacy, ensure the political success of his party and ineradicably defame their opponents. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 1 Mar. 2021 Nunes had alleged the cable news company intentionally published a false news article on Nov. 22, 2019 and engaged in a conspiracy to defame him and damage his personal and professional reputation. Larry Neumeister, Star Tribune, 19 Feb. 2021 Lynch’s investigation centers on alleged attempts by Schar, a real-estate developer, to publicly disseminate information that would hurt or defame Snyder, the people familiar with the matter said. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 22 Dec. 2020 At this point, one may be inclined to ask: If a monument dedicated to those who risked and lost their lives battling against Hitler and General Tojo is not safe from the mob now trying to defame American history, what is safe? Jack H. Burke, National Review, 1 Nov. 2020

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

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First Known Use of defame

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for defame

Time Traveler

The first known use of defame was in the 14th century

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Statistics for defame

Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defame.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defame. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for defame

defame

verb

English Language Learners Definition of defame

formal : to hurt the reputation of (someone or something) especially by saying things that are false or unfair
de·​fame | \ di-ˈfām How to pronounce defame (audio) \
defamed; defaming

Legal Definition of defame

: to make the subject of defamation

Other Words from defame

defamer noun

History and Etymology for defame

Medieval Latin defamare, alteration of Latin diffamare to spread news of, defame, from dis-, prefix marking dispersal or removal + fama reputation

More from Merriam-Webster on defame

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defame

Nglish: Translation of defame for Spanish Speakers

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