smear campaign

smear campaign

noun
a campaign to tarnish the reputation of a public figure, especially by vilification or innuendo.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Main Entry:  smear campaign
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a strategy to discredit a person, esp. a public figure, through disparaging remarks or false accusations
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

smear campaign

An attempt to ruin a reputation by slander or vilification, as in This press agent is well known for starting smear campaigns against her clients' major competitors. This phrase was first recorded in 1938 and uses smear in the sense of "an attempt to discredit" or "slander."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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