Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To damage the reputation, character, or good name of by slander or libel. See Synonyms at malign.
  • transitive v. Archaic To disgrace.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to try to diminish the reputation of.
  • v. to publish a libel about.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To harm or destroy the good fame or reputation of; to disgrace; especially, to speak evil of maliciously; to dishonor by slanderous reports; to calumniate; to asperse.
  • transitive v. To render infamous; to bring into disrepute.
  • transitive v. To charge; to accuse.
  • n. Dishonor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To slander or calumniate, as by uttering or publishing maliciously something which tends to injure the reputation or interests of; speak evil of; dishonor by false reports.
  • To charge; accuse; especially, to accuse falsely.
  • To degrade; bring into disrepute; make infamous.
  • Synonyms Calumniate, Slander, etc. See asperse.
  • n. Infamy; disgrace.

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

  • v. charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone

Etymologies

Middle English defamen, from Old French defamer, from Medieval Latin dēfāmāre, alteration of Latin diffāmāre, to spread news of, slander : dis-, abroad, apart; see dis- + fāma, rumor, reputation; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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