[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. deface,
  2. defacement,
  3. defaecate,
  4. defalcate,
  5. defalcation,
  6. defamatory,
  7. defame,
  8. defamiliarization,
  9. defang,
  10. default

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 confuseddefamation liable libel slander (see usage note at liable) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for defamation

British Dictionary definitions for defamation


/ (ˌdɛfəˈmeɪʃən) /


law the injuring of a person's good name or reputationCompare 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

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