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slander

[ slan-der ]
/ ˈslæn dər /
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See synonyms for: slander / slandered / slanders / slanderer on Thesaurus.com

noun
defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.
Law. defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.
verb (used with object)
to utter slander against; defame.
verb (used without object)
to utter or circulate slander.
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Origin of slander

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun s(c)laundre, from Anglo-French esclaundre, Old French esclandre, alteration of escandle, from Late Latin scandalum “cause of offense, snare” (see scandal); Middle English verb s(c)laundren “to cause to lapse morally, bring to disgrace, discredit, defame,” from Anglo-French esclaund(e)rer, from Old French esc(l)andrer, esc(l)andir, derivative of esclandre

OTHER WORDS FROM slander

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH slander

1. defamation, libel, slander 2. defame, libel, slander
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

SLANDER VS. LIBEL

What's the difference between slander and libel?

Slander and libel and are both forms of defamation—the act of attacking someone’s character or reputation, especially by making false statements about them. The difference is that such statements are considered slander when they are simply spoken in the presence of other people, whereas they are considered libel when they are published or broadcast in some way, such as being written in an article, spoken on TV, or printed on a sign that’s posted in a public place.

Both words can also be used as verbs meaning to defame someone in such a way. In a legal context, slander and libel can both be considered crimes. For an action to be considered slander or libel, it must be proven to have done some damage to a person’s reputation. Slander is often much harder to prove because it involves simply saying something, whereas libel often involves a permanent record of the statement.

You can remember the difference by thinking about the first letter of each word: slander typically involves speaking, while libel typically involves a lasting document of what was said.

Here’s an example of slander and libel used correctly in a sentence.

Example: The court determined that the defendant’s statements constituted slander, but did not rise to the level of libel since they were not published or broadcast. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between slander and libel.

Quiz yourself on slander vs. libel!

Should slander or libel be used in the following sentence?

The magazine was sued for _____ after printing false accusations.

How to use slander in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for slander

slander
/ (ˈslɑːndə) /

noun
law
  1. defamation in some transient form, as by spoken words, gestures, etc
  2. a slanderous statement, etc
any false or defamatory words spoken about a person; calumny
verb
to utter or circulate slander (about)

Derived forms of slander

slanderer, nounslanderous, adjectiveslanderously, adverbslanderousness, noun

Word Origin for slander

C13: via Anglo-French from Old French escandle, from Late Latin scandalum a cause of offence; see scandal
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
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