[ dih-feym ]
See synonyms for: defamedefameddefaming on

verb (used with object),de·famed, de·fam·ing.
  1. to attack the good name or reputation of, as by uttering or publishing maliciously or falsely anything injurious; slander or libel; calumniate: The newspaper editorial defamed the politician.

  2. Archaic. to disgrace; bring dishonor upon.

  1. Archaic. to accuse.

Origin of defame

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English defamen, from Anglo-French defamer or directly from Medieval Latin dēfāmāre, variant of Medieval Latin, Latin diffāmāre (dē- de- for dif-; compare Latin dēfāmātus “infamous”) “to spread the news of, slander,” equivalent to dif- dif- + -fāmāre verbal derivative of fāma “news, rumor, slander” (see fame); replacing Middle English diffamen, from Anglo-French, Old French diffamer or directly from Medieval Latin, Latin, as above

Other words for defame

Other words from defame

  • de·fam·er, noun
  • de·fam·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·de·famed, adjective
  • un·de·fam·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with defame

Words Nearby defame Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use defame in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for defame


/ (dɪˈfeɪm) /

  1. to attack the good name or reputation of; slander; libel

  2. archaic to indict or accuse

Origin of defame

C14: from Old French defamer, from Latin dēfāmāre, from diffāmāre to spread by unfavourable report, from fāma fame

Derived forms of defame

  • defamer, noun

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