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 Giuffre claimed that Maxwell, daughter of the late British publisher Robert Maxwell, defamed her by publicly calling her a liar. Bloomberg, The Mercury News, "Jeffrey Epstein sent underage girl to Governor and Senator for sex, she testified," 10 Aug. 2019 Dhanoa is confident that there are enough safeguards in place to ensure that the reporting programs aren’t abused or used to defame or embarrass people. Robert Salonga, The Mercury News, "San Jose: New police portal lets residents quietly report suspected ‘johns’," 8 Sep. 2019 The lawsuit also says Smith defamed Artharee by stating he had been fired from his job., "Man sues former Portland City Council candidate Loretta Smith, alleging she defamed him," 28 Aug. 2019 The images give a rare insight into the personal life of a high-ranking member of the royal household -- strict lese majeste laws prohibit insulting or defaming the monarchy and carry a jail term of up to 15 years for each count. Helen Regan, CNN, "Flying a jet and firing a gun: Thailand releases rare photos of King's royal consort," 27 Aug. 2019 Pakistani security services have accused Ms. Ismail of a litany of serious offenses including sedition, financing terrorism and defaming state institutions, though the authorities have not filed formal charges against her. New York Times, "In Pakistan, a Feminist Hero Is Under Fire and on the Run," 23 July 2019 That means Daniels’s individual case—who signed what; who defamed whom—could be a catalyst of historic proportions. Amy Chozick, Vogue, "Stormy Daniels Isn’t Backing Down," 28 Aug. 2018 Martin Tripp, an ex-Tesla technician the company has accused of hacking and sabotage, has now countersued his former employer and claimed that Tesla defamed him. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Man accused of sabotage at Tesla brings his own lawsuit over defamation," 31 July 2018 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

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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Statistics for defame

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for defame

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

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More Definitions for defame


How to pronounce defame (audio)

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

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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

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