- defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
- the act or crime of publishing it.
- a formal written declaration or statement, as one containing the allegations of a plaintiff or the grounds of a charge.
- anything that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents.
- to publish a libel against.
- to misrepresent damagingly.
- to institute suit against by a libel, as in an admiralty court.
Origin of libel
- the act of suing a writer for alleged defamation in a foreign jurisdiction where there are weak libel laws.
- someone who engages in libel tourism.
- the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals: blood libels that spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages.
Examples from the Web for libel
A libel suit reverses the roles of plaintiff and defendant; the former must defend itself against the latter's charges.The 'Defenders of Zionism' Lose Their Case
September 9, 2013
Yitzhar spokesman says the settlement 'has won a number of libel suits against media groups and the Israel Police.'Slim Majority Of Israelis Would Support Peace Deal Referendum
July 24, 2013
According to Dershowitz, Corey called Harvard Law School and threatened to sue to the school for libel for his comments.Who Is Angela Corey? From Being Fired to Prosecuting Zimmerman
July 15, 2013
The bill aims to protect the IDF from libel by Israel detractors.Jerusalem 'Price Taggers' Damage Jewish, Arab Cars
May 24, 2013
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is on the rampage again, suing a Wall Street Journal reporter for libel.Sheldon Adelson, the Billionaire Who Bankrupted Me
John L. Smith
February 28, 2013
The whole scene is a libel upon Cleopatra and upon womanhood.The Man Shakespeare
Do you now want to libel him, and say that he's marrying you for your money?The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
But a writer should remember that there is no law of libel to protect a nation.One Day's Courtship
You might sue us for libel, if you thought we had treated you badly.
He would sue the Argus for libel, which, by the way, he never did.
- the publication of defamatory matter in permanent form, as by a written or printed statement, picture, etc
- the act of publishing such matter
- any defamatory or unflattering representation or statement
- ecclesiastical law a claimant's written statement of claim
- Scots law the formal statement of a charge
- law to make or publish a defamatory statement or representation about (a person)
- to misrepresent injuriously
- ecclesiastical law to bring an action against (a person) in the ecclesiastical courts
Word Origin and History for libel
c.1300, "formal written statement," especially, in civil law, "plaintiff's statement of charges" (mid-14c.); from Old French libelle (fem.) "small book; (legal) charge, claim; writ; written report" (13c.), from Latin libellus "a little book, pamphlet; petition, written accusation, complaint," diminutive of liber "book" (see library). Broader sense of "any published or written statement likely to harm a person's reputation" is first attested 1630s.
mid-15c., "make an initial statement setting out a plaintiff's case" (modern sense from 1560s), from libel (n.), q.v. for sense development. Related: Libeled; libelled; libeling; libelling.