poison-pen

[ poi-zuhn-pen ]
/ ˈpɔɪ zənˈpɛn /

adjective

composed or sent maliciously, as a letter, usually anonymously and for the purpose of damaging another's reputation or happiness: The newspaper received a poison-pen letter alleging that the mayor was misusing city funds.
characterized by or given to the sending of poison-pen letters: a poison-pen campaign; a poison-pen writer.

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Origin of poison-pen

First recorded in 1910–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for poison-pen

  • The poison-pen puzzle, as it came to be known in the department, first bobbed up some six months before Allison tackled it.

    On Secret Service|William Nelson Taft
  • Did you know anything about the poison-pen letters in Madison?

    On Secret Service|William Nelson Taft