de·fame | \ di-ˈfām , dē- \
defamed; defaming

Definition of defame 

transitive verb

1 archaic : disgrace

2 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

3 archaic : accuse defamed of witchcraft

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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

The former business manager for Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin said Tuesday she's being unfairly defamed in a lawsuit accusing her along with two of his children of misusing his credit cards and slandering him. Mike Schneider,, "Buzz Aldrin's former business manager says she's being defamed in lawsuit," 26 June 2018 The claim, filed more than a year after the publication of the dossier that Steele wrote, alleges that its contents defamed Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan. Katelyn Polantz, CNN, "3 Russian oligarchs sue Christopher Steele," 20 Apr. 2018 In the lawsuit, filed in February of 2017, Pouncey alleges Hunter and Alabama State Department of Education attorney James Ward defamed Pouncey to keep him from being named state superintendent in August 2016. Trisha Powell Crain,, "Will Pouncey lawsuit impact Alabama superintendent choice?," 18 Apr. 2018 Ramos claimed the paper had defamed him with its reporting. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Five newspaper staff killed by man who sued them for covering his online threats and harassment," 29 June 2018 Entry cannot defame or invade publicity rights or privacy of any person, living or deceased, or otherwise infringe upon any person's personal or proprietary rights including but not limited to copyrights or trademarks. CNN, "OFFICIAL RULES AND REGULATIONS," 12 June 2018 The response accused Singh of trying to defame and intimidate the two women. Stephen Hudak,, "Orange Property Appraiser Rick Singh accusers stand firm, but review discredits allegations against him," 25 May 2018 Jurors in Los Angeles have found the NCAA did not defame former USC assistant coach Todd McNair over a case linked to the Reggie Bush extra benefits scandal., "Ex-Olympian Ariana Kukors Smith sues USA Swimming," 22 May 2018 In January of 2017, Zervos sued Trump for defaming her with these comments. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Judge Tells Trump to Submit to Deposition in Sexual-Harassment Suit," 5 June 2018

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 1

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

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

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Statistics for defame

Last Updated

24 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for defame

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

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English Language Learners Definition of defame

: to hurt the reputation of (someone or something) especially by saying things that are false or unfair

de·fame | \ di-ˈfām \
defamed; defaming

Legal Definition of defame 

: to make the subject of defamation

Other words from defame

defamer noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on defame

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defame

Spanish Central: Translation of defame

Nglish: Translation of defame for Spanish Speakers

Comments on defame

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