defame

[dih-feym]

verb (used with object), de·famed, de·fam·ing.

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.
Archaic. to disgrace; bring dishonor upon.
Archaic. to accuse.

Nearby words

  1. defaecate,
  2. defalcate,
  3. defalcation,
  4. defamation,
  5. defamatory,
  6. defamiliarization,
  7. defang,
  8. default,
  9. defaulter,
  10. defcon

Origin of defame

1275–1325; Middle English defamen (< Anglo-French defamer) < Medieval Latin dēfāmāre, by-form 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 (< Anglo-French, Old French diffamer) < Medieval Latin, Latin, as above

Related formsde·fam·er, nounde·fam·ing·ly, adverbun·de·famed, adjectiveun·de·fam·ing, adjective

Can be confuseddefame libel slander

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for defame


British Dictionary definitions for defame

defame

verb (tr)

to attack the good name or reputation of; slander; libel
archaic to indict or accuse
Derived Formsdefamer, noun

Word Origin for defame

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

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 defame

defame

v.

c.1300, from Old French defamer (13c., Modern French diffamer), from Medieval Latin defamare, from Latin diffamare "to spread abroad by ill report, make a scandal of," from dis- suggestive of ruination + fama "a report, rumor" (see fame (n.)). Related: Defamed; defaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper