de·fa·ma·tion /ˌde-fə-'mā-shən/ n
1: communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person see also libel, slander; new york times co. v. sullivan in the important cases section compare disparagement, false light, slander of title
2: a defamatory communication
every repetition of the defamation is a publication — W. L. Prosser and W. P. Keeton

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun abuse, aspersion, calumniation, calumny, denigration, derogation, detraction, discommendation, disparagement, disrepute, false accusation, false publication, false report, imputation, infamy, insinuation, insult, invective, libel, obloquy, scandal, slander, slur, smear, smirch, traducement, untruth associated concepts: defamation against title, defamation of business or profession, defamation of character, defamation per quod, defamation per se, defamatory publication, defamatory upon its face, defamatory words, injury to character or reputation, injury to profession or business foreign phrases:
- Inveniens libellum famosum et non corrumpens punitur. — A person who finds a libel and does not destroy it is punished
II index aspersion, denunciation, dishonor (shame), hatred, infamy, libel, malediction, obloquy, opprobrium, phillipic, scandal, shame, slander, vilification

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

Written or spoken words which are untrue and have the effect of harming the reputation of a person or business.

Easyform Glossary of Law Terms. — UK law terms.

An intentional publication or public statement of false information that damages someone’s reputation.
defamatory See also libel, slander

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

a form of wrong done by words. A defamatory statement is one that tends to lower the plaintiff in the minds of right-thinking people: Sim v. Stretch (1936) 52 TLR 669.
In England there is a technical distinction in the law of defamation between libel and slander. Libel refers to a permanent form such as print and slander to a transient form such as speech. Some Australian states have abolished the distinction between slander and libel. In England, but not in Scotland, the statement complained of must be communicated to a person other than the plaintiff. The essence, however, is that the statement must be defamatory, as above defined. If it has this special quality, then it is not essential that the plaintiff should prove malice, making the effective onus fall on the defendant. To allege a person is a criminal or behaves immorally is defamatory. To be actionable, the statement must be false, and this is resolved in court by the defendant pleading justification (or veritas in Scotland). The Defamation Act 1952 makes it unnecessary for the defendant to show that every charge is true so long as those that remain false do not materially injure the plaintiff's reputation. Communication has been established by many means, including film and effigy or by the Internet (see Godfrey v . Demon Internet Ltd [1999] TLR 301). The statement need not always be a bald assertion. It is open to the plaintiff to innuendo a statement, that is, to show that a statement is not, on the face of it, defamatory, actually has a defamatory meaning. The plaintiff must state in words in his pleadings what this meaning is. A statement in a foreign language always requires an innuendo.
Of practical importance are the other defences. Absolute privilege protects certain communications – parliamentary proceedings, judicial proceedings and official communications. The Defamation Act 1996 allows absolute privilege to fair and accurate contemporaneous reports of judicial proceedings in newspapers and in broadcasts. Qualified privilege is more subtle. It protects (subject to the qualification discussed later) statements made in certain circumstances. The categories are not closed, but among those that have been recognised are included statements in pursuance of a duty, in protection of an interest, and fair and accurate reports by any means of proceedings of public and semi-public bodies. Some categories of statement are given qualified privilege and others qualified privilege subject to explanation or contradictions. The qualified nature of qualified privilege is that the maker of the false defamatory statement is protected only if there is not actual malice – in other words, the defence really only takes away the presumption of malice inherent in a defamatory statement.
Fair comment is another frequently used defence, but it depends upon the matter being shown to be a comment on facts truly stated. People are allowed to be most vehement in such comment. It has recently been called honest comment in the House of Lords. It does not forgive false statements. The matter must be one of some public interest.
The Defamation Act 1996 gives a publisher, including, for example, an Internet service provider, a defence where it neither knew nor had reason to know that a statement was defamatory of the person complaining. However, there must be an offer of amends, that is, to publish a correction and apology and to pay such compensation as may be agreed.
In Scotland defamation is only one form of verbal injury, the others being convicium and malicious fraud.
See also rolled-up plea.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

A false statement that harms a person's reputation. If the statement is published, it is libel; if spoken, it is slander. Most states have retraction statutes under which a defamed person who fails to seek a retraction from the publisher, or who seeks and obtains a retraction, is limited to compensation equal to the actual (or special) damages. Public figures, including officeholders and candidates, can only prevail in defamation lawsuits if they can show that the defamation was made with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard for the truth. (See also: libel per se)
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Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

The publishing of a statement which lowers the individual or the company in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally. Broadly, the test is whether a statement would cause one to think less of the person or company to whom it refers. Defences may be based on justification, privilege and fair comment.
Related links
+ defamation
An act of communication (whether written or oral) that damages the reputation, character or good name of another. Slander (spoken false statements) and libel (written false statements, including statements published on the internet) are both forms of defamation. State law governs this cause of action, and the requirements for making a defamation claim generally vary from state to state.

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

n. The utterance of a false statement that harms the reputation of another. Although most state laws require that a defamatory statement be made with knowledge of its falsehood, in some jurisdictions a cause of action exists for negligent defamation.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.
II That which tends to injure a person's reputation. (See libel and slander.)

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his/her reputation. If the defamatory statement is printed or broadcast over the media it is libel and, if only oral, it is slander. Public figures, including officeholders and candidates, have to show that the defamation was made with malicious intent and was not just fair comment. Damages for slander may be limited to actual (special) damages unless there is malice. Some statements such as an accusation of having committed a crime, having a feared disease or being unable to perform one's occupation are called libel per se or slander per se and can more easily lead to large money awards in court and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed. Most states provide for a demand for a printed retraction of defamation and only allow a lawsuit if there is no such admission of error.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • defamation — def‧a‧ma‧tion [ˌdefəˈmeɪʆn] noun [uncountable] LAW the act of writing or saying bad or untrue things about someone, so that people will have a bad opinion of them: • He sued the newspaper for defamation of character. defame verb [transitive] * * …   Financial and business terms

  • Defamation — Def a*ma tion, n. [OE. diffamacioun, F. diffamation. See {Defame}.] Act of injuring another s reputation by any slanderous communication, written or oral; the wrong of maliciously injuring the good name of another; slander; detraction; calumny;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Defamation — (lat.), soviel wie Diffamation …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Defamation — (lat.), s.v.w. Diffamation …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • defamation — c.1300, from O.Fr. diffamacion, M.L. deffamation, from L. diffamationem (nom. diffamatio), noun of action from pp. stem of diffamare (see DEFAME (Cf. defame)) …   Etymology dictionary

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  • defamation — [def΄ə mā′shən] n. [ME defamacioun < OFr difamacion < LL diffamatio] a defaming or being defamed; detraction, slander, or libel …   English World dictionary

  • Defamation — This article is about the malicious statement. For the 2009 film, see Defamation (film). Libel and Slander redirect here. For other uses, see Libel (disambiguation) and Slander (disambiguation). Vilification and Calumny redirect here. For the… …   Wikipedia

  • defamation — /def euh may sheuhn/, n. the act of defaming; false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel; calumny: She sued the magazine for defamation of character. [1275 1325; ME; r. (by analogy with DEFAME) ME… …   Universalium

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