Definition of DEFAMATORY


Defamatory functions as an adjective, describing statements or actions that harm someone’s reputation by conveying false or damaging information about them. It encompasses communication that tarnishes the reputation or character of an individual or entity, often leading to legal consequences.

Used as an adjective, defamatory refers to statements, remarks, or actions that unjustly harm someone’s reputation or character. It implies the dissemination of false or misleading information that injures the good name or standing of the subject, causing reputational damage and potentially leading to legal repercussions.

Harmful Communication: Defamatory communication takes various forms, including spoken words, written statements, images, or gestures, that convey false or damaging information about an individual or entity. It may involve allegations of misconduct, dishonesty, incompetence, or immoral behavior, intended to undermine the credibility or integrity of the subject.

Legal Ramifications: Defamatory statements can have serious legal consequences, as they may constitute defamation, a civil offense that allows individuals to seek damages for harm to their reputation. To be considered defamatory, a statement must be false, published or communicated to a third party, and injurious to the reputation of the subject.

Burden of Proof: In legal proceedings involving defamatory statements, the burden of proof typically lies with the plaintiff, who must demonstrate that the statements in question are false and have caused reputational harm. Defendants may assert defenses such as truth, privilege, or opinion to rebut allegations of defamation.

Impact on Reputation: Defamatory statements can inflict lasting damage on the reputation and livelihood of individuals or entities targeted. They may tarnish professional credibility, damage business relationships, or undermine personal integrity, leading to social ostracism, loss of employment opportunities, or financial hardship.

Ethical Considerations: Ethical considerations are paramount when evaluating the dissemination of information that may be perceived as defamatory. Journalists, writers, and communicators must adhere to principles of accuracy, fairness, and responsibility to avoid unjustly harming the reputations of others through unfounded allegations or sensationalized reporting.

In conclusion, defamatory as an adjective describes statements or actions that unjustly harm someone’s reputation by conveying false or damaging information about them. Whether communicated through spoken words, written statements, or other means, defamatory communication can have serious legal, social, and ethical implications, highlighting the importance of accuracy, fairness, and responsibility in communication and discourse.

Examples of DEFAMATORY in a sentence

  • The article contained several defamatory statements about the politician.
  • Making defamatory remarks about someone’s character can lead to legal action.
  • The company issued a statement denying the defamatory allegations made against its products.
  • Spreading defamatory rumors can tarnish a person’s reputation.
  • He was sued for publishing defamatory content on social media.
  • The journalist faced backlash for writing a defamatory piece about the celebrity.
  • The judge ruled that the comments made by the defendant were indeed defamatory.
  • The lawyer advised his client against making defamatory remarks during the trial.

Etymology of DEFAMATORY

The term “defamatory” is derived from the Latin word “diffamatorius,” which comes from “diffamare,” meaning “to spread abroad” or “to make widely known.” Here’s the breakdown:

  • Diffamare (Latin): Referring to “to spread abroad” or “to make widely known.”
  • Diffamatorius (Latin): Adjective form of “diffamare,” indicating something that spreads or makes widely known.
  • Defamatory (Modern English): Borrowed from Latin, retaining the sense of making damaging or false statements about someone, often to harm their reputation.

Therefore, “defamatory” originally described something that spreads or makes widely known, but it now primarily refers to statements or actions that harm someone’s reputation by conveying false information or damaging their character.


  • Slanderous
  • Calumnious
  • Injurious
  • Malicious
  • Dishonoring
  • Libelous
  • Detractive
  • Calumniatory


  • Complimentary
  • Praising
  • Honorable
  • Respectful
  • Admiring
  • Uplifting
  • Validating
  • Flattering


  • Denigrating
  • Maligning
  • Detracting
  • Harmful
  • Demeaning
  • Vindictive
  • Disparaging
  • Censorious

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