Definition of defame in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈfeɪm/


[with object]
Damage the good reputation of (someone); slander or libel: he claimed that the article defamed his family
More example sentences
  • A legal expert here yesterday said that people who were e-mailing details of the allegations to friends and colleagues were engaging in libel, by defaming the players.
  • As far as I am concerned, with the weight of a 40-year journalistic and editing career behind me, this statement libels and defames me, and could form the basis of a suit at law.
  • I must respectfully insist that you either substantiate these claims - which you cannot do because they are false - or publicly apologize for attempting to defame my character and damage my reputation.
libel, slander, malign, cast aspersions on, smear, traduce, blacken the name/character of, give someone a bad name, defame someone's character, sully someone's reputation, run down, speak ill/evil of, back-bite, run a smear campaign against, calumniate, vilify, besmirch, tarnish, stigmatize, disparage, denigrate, discredit, decry, insult, lie about, tell lies about
informal do a hatchet job on, sling/fling/throw mud at, drag through the mud/mire
North American  slur
British informal slag off
North American informal bad-mouth
rare asperse, derogate, vilipend



Pronunciation: /dɪˈfeɪmə/
Example sentences
  • If this be proved, then even positive belief in the truth of what is published will not enable the defamer to avail himself of the protection of the privilege to which he would otherwise have been entitled.
  • Putting it another way, in such circumstances the defamer cannot be said to be ‘telling deliberate and injurious falsehoods’.
  • The defamer might be willing to publish an apology; but to do so would be an act of grace on his part.


Middle English: from Old French diffamer, from Latin diffamare 'spread evil report', from dis- (expressing removal) + fama 'report'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de¦fame

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