1 : a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation
2 : the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation
Did You Know?
Calumny made an appearance in these famous words from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go." The word had been in the English language for a while, though, before Hamlet uttered it. It first entered English in the 15th century and comes from the Middle French word calomnie of the same meaning. Calomnie, in turn, derives from the Latin word calumnia, (meaning "false accusation," "false claim," or "trickery"), which itself traces to the Latin verb calvi, meaning "to deceive."
The notion that the mayor knew about the problem before the newspaper broke the story is nothing but calumny.
"Some say that showing respect for your opponent after heaping disrespect upon him … and having disrespect heaped upon you civilizes our politics. In truth, however, it degrades our politics. It says that anything goes-calumny and character assassination are all just part of the rough and tumble of campaigning.…" - Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of calumny: DRLASNE. The answer is …
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP