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[def-uh-mey-shuh n] /ˌdɛf əˈmeɪ ʃən/
the act of defaming; false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel; calumny:
She sued the magazine for defamation of character.
Origin of defamation
1275-1325; Middle English; replacing (by analogy with defame) Middle English diffamacioun < Medieval Latin diffāmātiōn- (stem of diffāmātiō), equivalent to Latin diffāmāt(us) (past participle of diffāmāre; see defame) + -iōn- -ion
Can be confused
defamation, liable, libel, slander (see usage note at liable) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for defamation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But some day he will know what is the meaning of defamation, and if he ever does, he will forgive me.

    Meno Plato
  • For you might come ruin, defamation, and perhaps imprisonment.

    The Queen's Necklace

    Alexandre Dumas pre
  • The praise, on the one hand, and the defamation on the other, are equally unmerited.

  • My dear, he'll have to bring an action for defamation of character, or whatever they call it.

  • In other words, truth is a defense to an action for defamation.

    Commercial Law

    Samuel Williston, Richard D. Currier, and Richard W. Hill
British Dictionary definitions for defamation


(law) the injuring of a person's good name or reputation Compare libel, slander
the act of defaming or state of being defamed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for defamation

c.1300, from Old French diffamacion, Medieval Latin deffamation, from Latin diffamationem (nominative diffamatio), noun of action from past participle stem of diffamare (see defame).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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