defame

verb de·fame \ di-ˈfām , dē- \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of defame

defamed; defaming
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 1libel 2a) or slander (see 2slander 2)
  • defamed her character
3 archaic : accuse
  • defamed of witchcraft

defamer

noun

Examples of defame in a Sentence

  1. He says he was defamed by reports that falsely identified him as a former gangster.

  2. of course I want to win the election, but I refuse to defame my opponent in order to do so

Recent Examples of defame from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

DEFAME Defined for English Language Learners

defame

verb

Definition of defame for English Language Learners

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


Law Dictionary

defame

transitive verb de·fame \ di-ˈfām \

legal Definition of defame

defamed; defaming
: to make the subject of defamation

defamer

noun

Origin and Etymology of defame

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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