li·​bel·​ous | \ ˈlī-b(ə-)ləs How to pronounce libelous (audio) \
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

The publication of a false accusation of a crime like murder is libelous under American law. David French, National Review, "On Ferguson, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris Told a Terrible Lie," 12 Aug. 2019 The unflattering and potentially libelous modifications are some of many, and highlight the artist’s take on widespread predatory behavior in the entertainment industry. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. artist explains why he vandalized ‘Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood’ billboard," 26 July 2019 Despite what spin the college places on the facts of this case, libelous statements have never enjoyed protections under the First Amendment. Emily Bamforth,, "Gibson’s Bakery lawyers release FAQs in response to Oberlin College statements," 28 June 2019 The accusation of assault alone was libelous under Ohio law. David French, National Review, "The Oberlin Trial Is a Blueprint for Fighting Back," 10 June 2019 The lawsuits sought retractions and monetary damages and alleged that the Deadspin and Jezebel articles included false and libelous information. Jonathan Randles, WSJ, "Gizmodo Media Group Settles Defamation Lawsuits Led by Charles Harder," 18 Jan. 2019 If a newspaper publishes a libelous story, it can be sued. Glenn Harlan Reynolds, WSJ, "When Digital Platforms Become Censors," 18 Aug. 2018 Your Content is not false or libelous and does not infringe the privacy, data protection or confidentiality rights of any third party. Harper's BAZAAR, "Reader Submission Terms and Community Guidelines," 13 Jan. 2015 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

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

Statistics for libelous

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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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 How to pronounce libellous (audio) \

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

Comments on libelous

What made you want to look up libelous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving a confidence or trust

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