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 Strict lese majeste laws prohibit insulting or defaming the monarchy and carry a prison term of up to 15 years for each count. Helen Regan And Angie Puranasamriddhi, CNN, "Thai King fires palace bedroom guards for 'violent conduct' and adultery," 30 Oct. 2019 The central government has been mobilising Chinese citizens and its propaganda machine to defame and crack the movement. The Economist, "Hong Kong “is a battle for survival and for freedom”," 21 Aug. 2019 In addition, spreading of false information to defame our artist will also face strict legal consequences. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "BTS’s Management Company Has Responded to Those Jungkook Dating Rumors," 17 Sep. 2019 Impallaria alleged he was defamed earlier this year when members discussed him during a committee meeting. Pamela Wood,, "State delegate’s lawsuit against Baltimore County Republican officials is dismissed," 1 Aug. 2019 At least five other ex-USAA planners who alleged they also were defamed by USAA are headed to arbitration either later this year or next year. Patrick Danner,, "Report: USAA may sell wealth-management business to Charles Schwab," 15 July 2019 The award came four months after a judge ruled that Pozner had been defamed by James Fetzer and Mike Palecek, editors of a book claiming that the government had staged the killing to advance gun control measures. Jta Staff,, "Father of Jewish Sandy Hook victim awarded $450,000 in defamation suit," 14 Dec. 2012 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

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

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Defame.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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