[def-uh-mey-shuh n]


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 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

Contemporary Examples of defamation

Historical Examples of defamation

  • But some day he will know what is the meaning of defamation, and if he ever does, he will forgive me.



  • 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 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