Legal Definition and Related Resources of Defamation

Meaning of Defamation

The publication of a statement which tends to lower a person in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally, or which tends to make them shun or avoid that person. Defamation is either libel or slander . See libel and slander.

Defamation Alternative Definition

The speaking or writing words of a person so as to hurt his good fame, de bona fama aliquid detrahere. Written defamation is termed “libel,” and oral defamation “slander.”

Defamation Legal Definition

Making false, derogatory statements about a person’s character, morals, abilities, business practices or financial status (Includes libel, which is written, and slander, which is spoken).

Synonyms of Defamation


  • abuse
  • aspersion
  • calumniation
  • calumny
  • denigration
  • derogation
  • detraction
  • discommendation
  • disparagement
  • disrepute
  • false accusation
  • false publication
  • false report
  • imputation
  • infamy
  • insinuation
  • insult
  • invective
  • libel
  • obloquy
  • scandal
  • slander
  • slur
  • smear
  • smirch
  • traducement
  • untruth
  • Associated Concepts: defamation against title
  • defamation of business or profession
  • defamation of character
  • defamation per quod
  • defamation per se
  • defamatory publication
  • defamatory upon its face
  • defamatory words
  • injury to character or reputation
  • injury to profession or business foreign phrases: Inveniens libellumfamosum et non corrumpenspunitur
  • A person who finds a libel and does not destroy it is punished

Related Entries of Defamation in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Defamation in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Defamation in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Defamation in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Defamation in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Calumny, Libel, Malice, Slander Per Quod.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Defamation in the Dictionary Defamation in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Defamation
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Defamation in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Defamation is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Defamation (more about URIs)

Defamation in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of defamation.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Policeman
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Defamation

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Defamation :

The *publication of a statement about a person that tends to lower his reputation in the opinion of right-thinking members of the community or to make them shun or avoid him. Defamation is usually in words, but pictures, gestures, and other acts can be defamatory. In English law, a distinction is made between defamation in permanent form (See libel) and defamation not in permanent form (See slander). This distinction is not made in Scotland. The remedies in tort for defamation are damages and injunction

In English law, the basis of the tort is injury to reputation, so it must be proved that the statement was communicated to someone other than the person defamed. In Scottish law, defamation includes injury to the feelings of the person defamed as well as injury to reputation, so an action can be brought when a statement is communicated only to the person defamed. If the statement is not obviously defamatory, the claimant must show that it would be understood in a defamatory sense (See innuendo). It is not necessary to prove that the defendant intended to refer to the claimant. The test is whether reasonable people would think the statement referred to him, but the defendant may escape liability for unintentional defamation by making an offer of amends (See apology). Other defences are *justification, *fair comment, *absolute privilege, and *qualified privilege.

All those involved in the publication of a defamatory statement, such as printers, publishers, and broadcasting companies, are liable and every repetition of a defamatory statement is a fresh publication, giving rise to a new cause of actio A mere distributor of a book, newspaper, etc., is not liable if he did not know and had no reason to know of its defamatory contents. The Defamation Act 1996 put this defence on a statutory footing and generally speeded up procedures for defamation litigation, but it did not change the rule that the jury and not the judge decides on the damages in defamation cases.

Meaning of Defamation in the U.S. Legal System

Definition of Defamation published by the National Association for Court Management: That which tends to injure a persons reputation. Libel is published defamation, whereas slander is spoken.


Hierarchical Display of Defamation

Law > Criminal law > Offence > Crime against individuals

Meaning of Defamation

Overview and more information about Defamation

For a more comprehensive understanding of Defamation, see in the general part of the online platform.[rtbs name=”xxx-xxx”]


Translation of Defamation

Thesaurus of Defamation

Law > Criminal law > Offence > Crime against individuals > Defamation

See also



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