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[dih-fam-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /dɪˈfæm əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
containing defamation; injurious to reputation; slanderous or libelous:
She claimed that the article in the magazine was defamatory.
Origin of defamatory
1585-95; < Medieval Latin diffāmātōrius, equivalent to Latin diffāmā(re) (see defame) + -tōrious -tory1
Related forms
nondefamatory, adjective
undefamatory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for defamatory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And he threatened to have me arrested for defamatory language.

    Our Square and the People in It Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • There is another point connected with this employment of defamatory epithets.

  • All sorts of defamatory reports were spread abroad about them.

    T. De Witt Talmage T. De Witt Talmage
  • The Archbishop of Salzburg bitterly resents "the calumnious and defamatory charges against them."

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921 Thomas J. Campbell
  • Sir Charles has written a defamatory letter, which has closed every house in this county to his victim.

    A Terrible Temptation Charles Reade
British Dictionary definitions for defamatory


/dɪˈfæmətərɪ; -trɪ/
injurious to someone's name or reputation
Derived Forms
defamatorily, adverb
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 defamatory

1590s, from Middle French diffamatoire, Medieval Latin diffamatorius "tending to defame," from diffamat-, past participle stem of diffamare (see defame).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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