Definition of calumny in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The making of false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation; slander.

    ‘a bitter struggle marked by calumny and litigation’
    • ‘When I buy Frank magazine and pass it around, I am doing evil for I am sharing in the sin of detraction and calumny.’
    • ‘It pains us to be a subject of real calumny, unjustifiably so.’
    • ‘Incidentally, he takes her to task for disseminating such calumny.’
    • ‘Scandal, woe and calumny struck the otherwise genteel junior school carol concert last night.’
    • ‘I can only get away with this calumny because of the shield of anonymity.’
    • ‘Weapons or slander do not cut it; fire or false presentation does not burn it; water or calumny does not moisten it, and wind or rumour does not dry it.’
    • ‘Has it ever occurred to you that calumny is as grave a sin as witchcraft and that it would be advisable to at least know what you are talking about before you assassinate somebody's character?’
    • ‘You risk committing the sin of calumny.’
    • ‘The notion that his allegations may be no more than calumny, or suspicion without substance doesn't seem to bother him.’
    • ‘He defended his beliefs with vigour, but in the end was overwhelmed by the flood of insult and calumny to which he was subjected.’
    • ‘I find myself the victim of a campaign of calumny and abuse.’
    • ‘Upon publication, he sued the newspaper for calumny because he was financially secure and was not in the shop-sign business.’
    • ‘I'm sure both parts of this assertion are mere calumny.’
    • ‘It is symbolic of the way that this glamorous Italian has ridden out the storm of controversy, calumny and secrecy surrounding the building, designed by her late husband.’
    • ‘The management of the countryside, in which we landowners and farmers take such pride and for which we so often receive so much calumny, is just doing the same things on a still larger scale.’
    • ‘Although it's likely that she will prevail in court, he has made an ugly situation even uglier by echoing a lot of calumny and spreading bald disinformation, thereby reaffirming public lies.’
    • ‘As the first barrister briefed in that seminal case, it behoves me to respond to this ignorant calumny.’
    • ‘What ethical responsibility does a bulletin board system bear towards publishing this calumny?’
    • ‘It would be a calumny on the reputation of that great man to suggest it.’
    • ‘This calumny would be delightedly used by Caesar's enemies throughout his life to imply his homosexuality.’
    slander, character assassination, misrepresentation of character, evil-speaking, calumniation, libel
    scandalmongering, malicious gossip, muckraking, smear campaign, disparagement, denigration, derogation, aspersions, vilification, traducement, obloquy, verbal abuse, backbiting, vituperation, revilement, scurrility
    lies, slurs, smears, untruths, false accusations, false reports, insults, slights
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[count noun]A false and slanderous statement.
      ‘a change in the law would prevent the press from publishing calumnies’
      • ‘Some people will tell you that it rains in Wales most days but that's a vicious calumny.’
      • ‘She is the victim of a terrible calumny for which cheats in her own profession must bear the blame.’
      • ‘The book is replete with hateful calumnies about men.’
      • ‘I resent the calumny that they've heaped on him.’
      • ‘But I hope that I may be allowed to point out a very grave misunderstanding and misattribution, and to protest the calumny with which the attack on me reaches its crescendo.’
      • ‘Could it have been those allegiances that in some way led her to purvey such calumnies?’
      • ‘Even then, they fled the party and subjected him to a vitriolic calumny unprecedented in more than 70 years, and he lost.’
      • ‘The suggestion that the knights had previously had any communication with King Henry is a gross calumny.’
      • ‘It creates a nexus of links that increase the chance that the calumny will come to the top of a google search.’
      • ‘This is a well-worn calumny.’
      • ‘The girls were doubtless out for a good time but they were perfectly law - abiding women and the calumny has unfairly stuck.’
      • ‘I'd just like to say that, having recently returned from Tangiers, this is a complete calumny against a fine bunch of traders.’
      • ‘Do you think the government should step in at that point and put a stop to these calumnies?’
      • ‘In an age of magnificent oratory, he was revered among the Irish for rejecting the calumnies against them made by a prominent, bigoted English historian of the times.’
      • ‘As for my getting more and more curmudgeonly, that is an outright calumny).’
      • ‘The counter-argument is that anonymity permits total calumnies to be propagated without punishment.’
      • ‘That's her privilege, but I shan't forget the calumny in a hurry.’
      • ‘We've been reminding him of all the calumnies and vituperations and bombast he has heaped upon the trade unionists of this country in recent years.’
      • ‘Secure in the knowledge he cannot fight back, the press is free to pursue him, committing to print whatever calumnies it likes.’
      • ‘Some even viewed the charge of novelty as a calumny leveled at them by their contemporary enemies.’
      slander, character assassination, misrepresentation of character, evil-speaking, calumniation, libel
      View synonyms


  • Slander (someone).

    • ‘What I don't believe is that it is necessary to calumny it with things it does not teach or believe.’
    • ‘That passage takes us closer to the reason why he has been hated and calumnied for so long.’
    • ‘The business plan is to use all that calumny and controversy to make money off news-stand sales but it doesn't seem to be working and ad revenues are small.’
    • ‘She has exposed herself to calumny from nearly all sides and may have dealt her career a mortal blow.’
    • ‘Indeed, clubs play on that calumny to cover their tracks, ever ready with an insinuation or well-placed leak concerning the real reason behind a manager's departure.’


Late Middle English: from Latin calumnia.