tra·​duce trə-ˈdüs How to pronounce traduce (audio)
traduced; traducing

transitive verb

: to expose to shame or blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation
: violate, betray
traduce a principle of law
traducement noun
traducer noun

Did you know?

Traduce is one of a number of English synonyms that you can choose when you need a word that means "to injure by speaking ill of." Choose traduce when you want to stress the deep personal humiliation, disgrace, and distress felt by the victim. If someone doesn't actually lie, but makes statements that injure by specific and often subtle misrepresentations, malign may be the more precise choice. To make it clear that the speaker is malicious and the statements made are false, calumniate is a good option. But if you need to say that certain statements represent an attempt to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse, vilify is the word you want.

Choose the Right Synonym for traduce

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 traduce in a Sentence

He was traduced in the press. a law that traduces one of our most cherished rights: the right to privacy
Recent Examples on the Web Those serenely appraising eyes refuse to be traduced by any fiction. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 Her infatuation traduces the complexities of interracial, interspecies, and cross-cultural attraction. Armond White, National Review, 26 May 2023 And the academic establishment traduced it, mocked it, minimized it. Ariana Marsh, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 Mar. 2023 In Philip’s case, the myth was the good Jewish boy traduced by inner anarchy. Benjamin Taylor, The Atlantic, 21 Apr. 2020 Authors and illustrators are being flamed online and having their reputations traduced and their careers threatened for transgressing the capricious new standards of ideological purity. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2020 The site functions first as a watchdog to the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a profane populist who not only traduces norms but also urges the assassination of Filipino citizens in the name of combatting drugs. Karl Vick, Time, 12 Dec. 2019 But though subsequently traduced as extreme, Friedman’s position had a fair amount of give in it. The Economist, 22 Aug. 2019 Think of Lucrezia Borgia, traduced by slander and gossip, and of Isabella d’Este, greedy for art. Sarah Dunant, New York Times, 1 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'traduce.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin traducere to lead across, transfer, degrade, from tra-, trans- trans- + ducere to lead — more at tow entry 1

First Known Use

1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of traduce was in 1573


Dictionary Entries Near traduce

Cite this Entry

“Traduce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


tra·​duce trə-ˈd(y)üs How to pronounce traduce (audio)
traduced; traducing
traducer noun
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