Definition of defame in US English:



[with object]
  • Damage the good reputation of (someone); slander or libel.

    ‘he claimed that the article defamed his family’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The plaintiff's representatives indicated that if they sued everyone who defamed him the case would go on for years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Two days later, I had hand-delivered to me a solicitor's letter making accusations against me that I had defamed the client.’
    • ‘‘If, for example, a journalist wrote an article defaming someone, his or her employers would be sued as well,’ pointed out McKie.’
    • ‘For example, you and I cannot, merely by agreement between us, agree to defame someone else or to infringe on someone's trademarks.’
    • ‘I recall Edward feeling frustrated and exasperated with this new attempt to defame him and discredit his work, but as usual, the attempt failed.’
    • ‘What public policy is served by inaccurate reports of court proceedings which defame people?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This means that he must show that he was defamed by a statement that was published with ‘actual malice.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She alleged that the article defamed her both personally and in her office as a magistrate and pleaded 3 false innuendos.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Weil later turned on Johnson, suing him for defaming his character in the documentary.’
    • ‘In the absence of that, it seems to me a political view that doesn't vilify anybody, doesn't defame anybody.’
    • ‘Mamase's accusations are clearly untrue and they must therefore have been made maliciously and with an intention to defame me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, those behind the site make it clear that it is not intended as a forum for ‘abusing, accusing, slandering or defaming anyone’.’
    • ‘If you say somebody was drunk driving a motor vehicle, you are seriously defaming that person.’
    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
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Middle English: from Old French diffamer, from Latin diffamare ‘spread evil report’, from dis- (expressing removal) + fama ‘report’.