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[def-uh-mey-shuh n] /ˌdɛf əˈmeɪ ʃən/
the act of defaming; false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel; calumny:
She sued the magazine for defamation of character.
Origin of defamation
1275-1325; Middle English; replacing (by analogy with defame) Middle English diffamacioun < Medieval Latin diffāmātiōn- (stem of diffāmātiō), equivalent to Latin diffāmāt(us) (past participle of diffāmāre; see defame) + -iōn- -ion
Can be confused
defamation, liable, libel, slander (see usage note at liable) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for defamation
  • Yet, some speech is routinely punished, such as defamation and slander.
  • This is libel, slander, defamation of character.
  • You are probably a victim and a perpetrator of this sort of defamation.
  • To suggest that he "stood paralyzed" with fear is nothing short of defamation of character.
  • Thirteen judgments were entered against him for defamation.
  • There must be a limit on how much defamation a newspaper can use.
  • Freedom of speach does not apply to slander or defamation of character.
  • The complaints against the company include defamation, breach of good faith and interference with its business practices.
  • There is a whole defamation-vocabulary available.
  • He published the report without knowledge of the defamation case, he said.
British Dictionary definitions for defamation


(law) the injuring of a person's good name or reputation Compare libel, slander
the act of defaming or state of being defamed
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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Word Origin and History for defamation

c.1300, from Old French diffamacion, Medieval Latin deffamation, from Latin diffamationem (nominative diffamatio), noun of action from past participle stem of diffamare (see defame).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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