noun, plural cal·um·nies.

a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something: The speech was considered a calumny of the administration.
the act of uttering calumnies; slander; defamation.

Origin of calumny

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin calumnia, equivalent to calumn-, perhaps originally a middle participle of calvī to deceive + -ia -y3)

Synonyms for calumny Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for calumny

defamation, lie

Examples from the Web for calumny

Contemporary Examples of calumny

  • One imagines that the latest pope, a Jesuit, is familiar with the centuries of calumny that have been heaped upon his forebears.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Thank God Pope Francis Is a Jesuit

    Jonathan Wright

    March 16, 2013

Historical Examples of calumny

  • If ever Calumny aims the poisoned shaft at them, may friendship be by to ward the blow!

  • It is there one lives exempt from the assaults of censure, detraction, and calumny.

    The History of Louisiana

    Le Page Du Pratz

  • Calumny is a little wind, but it raises such a terrible tempest.

  • Some they bought—some they ruined—some they intimidated—some they destroyed by calumny.

    Sir Jasper Carew

    Charles James Lever

  • Slander and calumny can go abroad without a dread of consequences.

British Dictionary definitions for calumny


noun plural -nies

the malicious utterance of false charges or misrepresentation; slander; defamation
such a false charge or misrepresentation

Word Origin for calumny

C15: from Latin calumnia deception, slander
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

Word Origin and History for calumny

"False & malicious misrepresentation of the words or actions of others, calculated to injure their reputation" [Fowler], mid-15c., from Middle French calomnie (15c.), from Latin calumnia "trickery, subterfuge, misrepresentation, malicious charge," from calvi "to trick, deceive," from PIE root *kel- "to deceive, confuse" (cf. Greek kelein "to bewitch, seduce, beguile," Gothic holon "to deceive," Old Norse hol "praise, flattery," Old English hol "slander," holian "to slander").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper