Synonym Chooser

How does the verb calumniate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of calumniate are asperse, defame, malign, slander, traduce, and vilify. While all these words mean "to injure by speaking ill of," calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions.

falsely calumniated as a traitor

When is asperse a more appropriate choice than calumniate?

The meanings of asperse and calumniate largely overlap; however, asperse implies continued attack on a reputation often by indirect or insinuated detraction.

both candidates aspersed the other's motives

When might defame be a better fit than calumniate?

In some situations, the words defame and calumniate are roughly equivalent. However, defame stresses the actual loss of or injury to one's good name.

sued them for defaming her reputation

When is it sensible to use malign instead of calumniate?

The words malign and calumniate can be used in similar contexts, but malign suggests specific and often subtle misrepresentation but may not always imply deliberate lying.

the most maligned monarch in British history

In what contexts can slander take the place of calumniate?

The words slander and calumniate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, slander stresses the suffering of the victim.

town gossips slandered their good name

Where would traduce be a reasonable alternative to calumniate?

Although the words traduce and calumniate have much in common, traduce stresses the resulting ignominy and distress to the victim.

so traduced the governor that he was driven from office

When would vilify be a good substitute for calumniate?

While in some cases nearly identical to calumniate, vilify implies attempting to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse.

no criminal was more vilified in the press

Thesaurus Entries Near calumniate

Cite this Entry

“Calumniate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on calumniate

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