from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A false statement maliciously made to injure another's reputation.
  • n. The utterance of maliciously false statements; slander.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a falsification or misrepresentation intended to disparage or discredit another.
  • n. false charges brought about to tarnish another's reputation or standing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. False accusation of a crime or offense, maliciously made or reported, to the injury of another; malicious misrepresentation; slander; detraction.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. False accusation of crime, misconduct, or defect, knowingly or maliciously made or reported, to the injury of another; untruth maliciously spoken, to the detraction of another; a defamatory report; slander.
  • n. Synonyms Lying, falsehood, libel, aspersion, detraction, backbiting, defamation, evil-speaking.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an abusive attack on a person's character or good name
  • n. a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions


Middle English calumnie, from Old French calomnie, from Latin calumnia, from calvī, to deceive.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle French calomnie, from Latin calumnia ("slander"), perhaps from calvor ("I deceive"). (Wiktionary)



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  • making of a false statement meant to injure a person’s reputation

    With the presidential primaries well under way, the air is thick with calumny, and the mud already waist-high.

    October 1, 2016

  • Found this in The Crucible. Who'd have guessed?

    September 7, 2008

  • "Daughters of calumny, I summon you!" Sheridan, School for Scandal.

    January 2, 2008

  • What I don't recall is the difference between calumny and slander. Except that the latter acts as its own verb, obviously.

    I do believe that the calumniators get a dedicated niche in the inferno. And that was before the 10th circle was opened, as reported in The Onion.

    October 10, 2007

  • Every time I see this word I think of the young officer in "Master and Commander" named Peter Miles Calamy.

    October 10, 2007