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

  • n. A false or slanderous story used for political advantage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative form of roorbach.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A defamatory forgery or falsehood published for purposes of political intrigue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fictitious story published for political effect; a “campaign lie.”


After Baron von Roorback, imaginary author of Roorback's Tour Through the Western and Southern States, from which a passage was purportedly quoted in an attempt to disparage presidential candidate James K. Polk in 1844.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Defined literally, a roorback is a “defamatory falsehood published for political effect,” but I wanted the grand old word to stand for all the defamations and falsehoods published and proffered in our irreverent media age.


  • Thornton has traced bolter to 1812, filibuster to 1863, roorback to 1844, and split-ticket to 1842.

    Chapter 3. The Period of Growth. 3. The Expanding Vocabulary

  • Dorgan knows how to make the best use of such a roorback on the eve of an election and even if

    The Ear in the Wall

  • McLoughlin knows how to make the best use of such a roorback on the eve of an election, and even if I not only deny but prove that they are a fake, I'm afraid the harm will be done.

    The Poisoned Pen

  • Elizur Wright purchased a Whig paper, and seeing a statement in it concerning the Free-soil candidate which he believed from internal evidence to be untrue, he said quite loud: "Well! this is the finest roorback I have met with."

    Cambridge Sketches


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • roorback – a defamatory falsehood published for political effect

    July 26, 2008