li·​bel·​ous | \ˈlī-b(ə-)ləs \
variants: or libellous

Definition of libelous 

: constituting or including a libel : defamatory a libelous statement

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Examples of libelous in a Sentence

libelous statements about a celebrity for which the tabloid was sued

Recent Examples on the Web

Weirdly, Roosevelt once had to defend himself against a libelous editorial written by a newspaper owner in a remote part of Michigan. Mark Will-weber, Town & Country, "A Complete History of the Mint Julep," 10 Apr. 2017 The copy editor will look for grammatical errors, and sometimes the publisher’s lawyer will check the book to make sure there’s nothing libelous in there, but fact-checking is not part of the standard publisher’s process. Constance Grady, Vox, "Book publishing’s fact-checking failure, as illustrated by the Sally Kohn controversy," 20 Apr. 2018 On February 22, reporters from BuzzFeed published a libelous story defaming me specifically, sincerely. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "ASU professor Lawrence Krauss: Sex-misconduct allegations are 'absurd,' 'libelous'," 7 Mar. 2018 More specifically, Republicans have alleged that the FBI secured a FISA warrant to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page, on the strength of libelous opposition research funded by Clinton’s team. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "A Brief Guide to Every Five-Alarm Fire Currently Engulfing The White House," 1 Mar. 2018 Republicans many of whom, including Dent, would thank you for not affixing to them that libelous label. George Will, National Review, "Charlie Dent’s Departure Makes Allentown Vulnerable to Democrats," 6 Jan. 2018 The lawsuit was brought by Las Vegas oddsmaker RJ Bell, who alleges a June 2016 story critical of him and his website,, includes statements that are libelous and false. Jonathan Randles, WSJ, "Univision Says It Will Fight Defamation Suit Over Deadspin Story," 6 July 2017 Other Americans were less polite: Henry Ford of car manufacturing fame republished libelous essays from Germany against Einstein. Matthew Francis, Smithsonian, "How Albert Einstein Used His Fame to Denounce American Racism," 3 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'libelous.' 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 libelous

1619, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near libelous







liberal arts

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Time Traveler for libelous

The first known use of libelous was in 1619

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English Language Learners Definition of libelous

: containing an untrue written statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone


variants: also libellous \ ˈlī-​bə-​ləs \

Legal Definition of libelous 

: constituting or including libel a libelous magazine article

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More from Merriam-Webster on libelous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for libelous

Spanish Central: Translation of libelous

Nglish: Translation of libelous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of libelous for Arabic Speakers

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