Definition of defame in English:



  • Damage the good reputation of (someone); slander or libel.

    ‘he claimed that the article defamed his family’
    • ‘For example, you and I cannot, merely by agreement between us, agree to defame someone else or to infringe on someone's trademarks.’
    • ‘The plaintiff's representatives indicated that if they sued everyone who defamed him the case would go on for years.’
    • ‘This " cyber terrorism " is not only designed to slander and defame opponents, but also attacks their characters and threatens their properties and even family members.’
    • ‘As far as I am concerned, with the weight of a 40-year journalistic and editing career behind me, this statement libels and defames me, and could form the basis of a suit at law.’
    • ‘What public policy is served by inaccurate reports of court proceedings which defame people?’
    • ‘‘If, for example, a journalist wrote an article defaming someone, his or her employers would be sued as well,’ pointed out McKie.’
    • ‘Weil later turned on Johnson, suing him for defaming his character in the documentary.’
    • ‘This means that he must show that he was defamed by a statement that was published with ‘actual malice.’’
    • ‘A legal expert here yesterday said that people who were e-mailing details of the allegations to friends and colleagues were engaging in libel, by defaming the players.’
    • ‘If you say somebody was drunk driving a motor vehicle, you are seriously defaming that person.’
    • ‘I recall Edward feeling frustrated and exasperated with this new attempt to defame him and discredit his work, but as usual, the attempt failed.’
    • ‘I must respectfully insist that you either substantiate these claims - which you cannot do because they are false - or publicly apologize for attempting to defame my character and damage my reputation.’
    • ‘Well, if that proposition is right, it means that if Justinian happens to make a mistake and defames some lawyer, then it has qualified privilege as long as it publishes its mistake in good faith, no matter how serious the defamation.’
    • ‘In the absence of that, it seems to me a political view that doesn't vilify anybody, doesn't defame anybody.’
    • ‘However, those behind the site make it clear that it is not intended as a forum for ‘abusing, accusing, slandering or defaming anyone’.’
    • ‘People expect journalists to be careful when they write articles, but, unless they defame a person, they are not liable in negligence to somebody who may be affected by their article, because they do not owe that person a duty of care.’
    • ‘Should you feel some politician or other grievously abuses / defames you under parliamentary privilege, do not expect an automatic right to defend yourself in the official written record of parliament.’
    • ‘She alleged that the article defamed her both personally and in her office as a magistrate and pleaded 3 false innuendos.’
    • ‘Two days later, I had hand-delivered to me a solicitor's letter making accusations against me that I had defamed the client.’
    • ‘Mamase's accusations are clearly untrue and they must therefore have been made maliciously and with an intention to defame me.’
    libel, slander, malign, cast aspersions on, smear, traduce, blacken the character of, blacken the name of, give someone a bad name, defame someone's character, sully someone's reputation, run down, speak evil of, speak ill of, back-bite, run a smear campaign against, calumniate, vilify, besmirch, tarnish, stigmatize, disparage, denigrate, discredit, decry, insult, lie about, tell lies about
    do a hatchet job on, fling mud at, sling mud at, throw mud at, drag through the mire, drag through the mud
    slag off
    asperse, derogate, vilipend
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Middle English: from Old French diffamer, from Latin diffamare spread evil report, from dis- (expressing removal) + fama report.