libel

[ lahy-buh l ]
/ ˈlaɪ bəl /

noun

Law.
  1. defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
  2. the act or crime of publishing it.
  3. 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.

verb (used with object), li·beled, li·bel·ing or (especially British) li·belled, li·bel·ling.

to publish a libel against.
to misrepresent damagingly.
to institute suit against by a libel, as in an admiralty court.

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Origin of libel

1250–1300; Middle English: little book, formal document, especially plaintiff's statement < Latin libellus, diminutive of liber book; for formation, see castellum

OTHER WORDS FROM libel

in·ter·li·bel, verb (used with object), in·ter·li·beled, in·ter·li·bel·ing or (especially British) in·ter·li·belled, in·ter·li·bel·ling.un·li·beled, adjectiveun·li·belled, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH libel

liable libeldefamation libel slanderdefame libel slander
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for libeling

British Dictionary definitions for libeling

libel
/ (ˈlaɪbəl) /

noun

law
  1. the publication of defamatory matter in permanent form, as by a written or printed statement, picture, etc
  2. 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

verb -bels, -belling or -belled or US -bels, -beling or -beled (tr)

Derived forms of libel

libeller or libelist, nounlibellous or libelous, adjective

Word Origin for libel

C13 (in the sense: written statement), hence C14 legal sense: a plaintiff's statement, via Old French from Latin libellus a little book, from liber a book
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

Cultural definitions for libeling

libel

A written, printed, or pictorial statement that unjustly defames someone publicly. Prosecution of libel as a punishable offense puts some measure of restriction on freedom of the press under the First Amendment (see also First Amendment).

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.