[dih-fam-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


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 formsnon·de·fam·a·to·ry, adjectiveun·de·fam·a·to·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for defamatory

Contemporary Examples of defamatory

Historical Examples of defamatory

  • And he threatened to have me arrested for defamatory language.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for defamatory



injurious to someone's name or reputation
Derived Formsdefamatorily, 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

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