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

Examples of libelous in a Sentence

libelous statements about a celebrity for which the tabloid was sued
Recent Examples on the Web Up against corrupt prosecutors, a vicious news media, and libelous social media influencers. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 11 Nov. 2021 Other tweets fall into the categories of infantile and allegedly libelous. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2021 She was sued in state court in August by James Marsh, who said her description of the incident on Facebook was libelous and damaging to his reputation., 2 Nov. 2021 So in essence, if there's hate speech on Facebook or facts that are misleading or even libelous or what have you, Section 230 protects these platforms from being sued. Claire Thornton, USA TODAY, 1 Nov. 2021 And, in light of Evan’s libelous assault, David defends the honor of the venerable hatch chili pepper. Dallas News, 17 Aug. 2021 Katharina denounces all of these accusations as libelous., 3 June 2021 For example, if someone posts something libelous about someone else on Facebook, Section 230 means that Facebook can’t be sued for that the way someone can sue a news organization. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, 25 Mar. 2021 His lawyers argue that his tweet was not libelous because the activist was voicing an opinion, not an assertion capable of being proved factual or otherwise. Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of libelous

1619, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About libelous

Time Traveler for libelous

Time Traveler

The first known use of libelous was in 1619

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near libelous




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for libelous

Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Libelous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for libelous



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

More from Merriam-Webster on libelous

Nglish: Translation of libelous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of libelous for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!