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 Trump’s efforts: Social media companies would surely boot Trump from their platforms to reduce their liability over his frequently false, disparaging and potentially libelous missives. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Relief and government funding in doubt as Trump delays signing of bill," 26 Dec. 2020 In the print media world, if a newspaper runs a libelous story about someone, that person can sue the outlet. Animals, "The black-market trade in wildlife has moved online, and the deluge is 'dizzying'," 18 Dec. 2020 The exact thing that Ashley and Michael have sworn up and down was a libelous accusation coming from other RHOP crewmembers., "The Real Housewives of Potomac reunion recap: Buckle up Andy, I ain’t done," 21 Dec. 2020 User Contributions must not: Contain any material that is defamatory, libelous, obscene, indecent, abusive, offensive, harassing, violent, hateful, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable, including foul or off-color language. Tim Fitzpatrick, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Terms of Service," 23 Sep. 2020 The jury agreed with the plaintiff’s accusation that five quotations in my article were false and libelous. Janet Malcolm, The New York Review of Books, "A Second Chance," 8 Sep. 2020 This libelous story has inflicted substantial harm on Liberty University’s reputation and caused it to expend substantial time and resources addressing. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Liberty's Falwell threatens to sue New York Times for 'fake' COVID on campus report," 9 Apr. 2020 The owners had argued the review was libelous and defamatory because the men merely had been members of the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. Fox News, "Austria hotel owners drop suit against reviewer who criticized 'Nazi grandpa' portrait," 18 Dec. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for libelous

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The first known use of libelous was in 1619

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Statistics for libelous

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Libelous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for libelous


How to pronounce libelous (audio)

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 libelous (audio) \

Legal Definition of libelous

: constituting or including libel a libelous magazine article

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