V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: to attack or harm someone's reputation with slander or libel

Synonyms: malign, asperse, badmouth, calumniate, denigrate, discredit, disparage, slander, besmirch

Antonyms: commend, champion, exult

Tips: Defame comes from the Latin word diffamare, "to spread an insulting report about." Think, de-faming someone by damaging their fame or taking away their fame. Defame is used in a formal or official context to indicate public damage to someone's reputation. A defamatory statement is one that damages, or defames, a reputation, while defamation is akin to slander. Use the words "defame" or "malign" instead of "badmouth." Defame and malign are much more powerful. Defame should be used when a person's public reputation has been slandered publicly, while malign should be used if someone is saying disparaging things within smaller circles.

Usage Examples:

The Governor refused to respond in print to the defamatory article about him; instead he hired a lawyer to sue the author and the newspaper. (libelous, damaging) adjective

The online anti-defamation group monitors hate speech on the Internet. (calumny, disparagement) noun

My former employer defamed my reputation in this industry, and as a result, no one will hire me. (badmouthed, denigrated, maligned)

If you defame her reputation, she is sure to sue you. (besmirch, malign)

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