Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The legally indefensible publication or broadcast of words or images that are degrading to a person or injurious to his or her reputation.
  • noun An incidence of such publication or broadcast.
  • noun The written claims initiating a suit in an admiralty court.
  • transitive verb To publish or broadcast a libel about (a person). synonym: malign.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In law, a petition for a decree in divorce.
  • In admiralty law, Scots law, and English ecclesiastical law, to serve a libel upon; institute suit against; present a formal charge against for trial, as against a clergyman for conduct unbecoming his office, or against a ship or goods for a violation of the laws of trade or revenue. See libel, n., 2.
  • To defame or expose to public hatred or contempt by a malicious and injurious publication, as a writing, picture, or the like; lampoon.
  • Synonyms Defame, Calumniate, etc. See asperse.
  • To spread defamation, written or printed: with against.
  • noun A writing of any kind; a written declaration or certificate.
  • noun In admiralty law, Scots law, and English ecclesiastical law, a writing or document instituting a suit and containing the plaintiff's allegations.
  • noun A lampoon.
  • noun A defamatory writing made public; a malicious and injurious publication, expressed in printing or writing, or by signs or pictures, tending either to injure the memory of one dead or the reputation of one alive, and to expose him to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule.
  • noun The crime of publishing a libel: as, he was guilty of libel.
  • noun In general, defamation; a defamatory remark or act; malicious misrepresentation in conversation or otherwise; anything intended or which tends to bring a person or thing into disrepute.
  • noun Synonyms See asperse and lampoon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To spread defamation, written or printed; -- with against.
  • transitive verb To defame, or expose to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, by a writing, picture, sign, etc.; to lampoon.
  • transitive verb (Law) To proceed against by filing a libel, particularly against a ship or goods.
  • noun obsolete A brief writing of any kind, esp. a declaration, bill, certificate, request, supplication, etc.
  • noun Any defamatory writing; a lampoon; a satire.
  • noun (Law) A malicious publication expressed either in print or in writing, or by pictures, effigies, or other signs, tending to expose another to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule. Such publication is indictable at common law.
  • noun (Law) The crime of issuing a malicious defamatory publication.
  • noun (Civil Law & Courts of Admiralty) A written declaration or statement by the plaintiff of his cause of action, and of the relief he seeks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A written (notably as handbill) or pictorial statement which unjustly seeks to damage someone's reputation.
  • noun uncountable The act or crime of displaying such a statement publicly.
  • verb transitive To defame someone, especially in a manner that meets the legal definition of libel.

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

  • noun the written statement of a plaintiff explaining the cause of action (the defamation) and any relief he seeks
  • noun a false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person
  • verb print slanderous statements against

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, litigant's written complaint, from Old French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber, book.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French libelle, from Latin libellus ("petition").

Examples

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