Definition of calumny in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkaləmni/

noun (plural calumnies)

[mass noun]
1The making of false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation; slander: a bitter struggle marked by calumny and litigation
More example sentences
  • You risk committing the sin of calumny.
  • It pains us to be a subject of real calumny, unjustifiably so.
  • When I buy Frank magazine and pass it around, I am doing evil for I am sharing in the sin of detraction and calumny.
slander, defamation (of character), character assassination, misrepresentation of character, evil-speaking, calumniation, libel;
lies, slurs, smears, untruths, false accusations, false reports, insults, slights
informal mud-slinging
North American informal bad-mouthing
archaic contumely
1.1 [count noun] A false and slanderous statement: a change in the law would prevent the press from publishing calumnies
More example sentences
  • This is a well-worn calumny.
  • It creates a nexus of links that increase the chance that the calumny will come to the top of a google search.
  • Could it have been those allegiances that in some way led her to purvey such calumnies?

verb (calumnies, calumnying, calumnied)

[with object] formal
Slander (someone).
Example sentences
  • That passage takes us closer to the reason why he has been hated and calumnied for so long.
  • What I don't believe is that it is necessary to calumny it with things it does not teach or believe.
  • She has exposed herself to calumny from nearly all sides and may have dealt her career a mortal blow.



Pronunciation: /kəˈlʌmnɪəs/
Example sentences
  • I intend to hear nothing more of your calumnious fabrications.
  • As it completes one year of calumnious existence, and rings in a new millennium of slander and misrepresentation, we would like to brag.
  • Commenters have left all kinds of comments to posts that the authors of those posts find objectionable, even calumnious.


Late Middle English: from Latin calumnia.

  • challenge from Middle English:

    Challenge was first recorded in the senses ‘an accusation’ and ‘to accuse’. The Latin base is calumnia ‘false accusation’, which also gave calumny (mid 16th century) ‘a false statement damaging someone's reputation’ in late Middle English.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cal|umny

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words