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From Middle English defamen, from Anglo-Norman defamer (verb), defame (noun), and its source, Latin diffāmō, from fāma (fame; rumour; reputation).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈfeɪm/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪm


defame (third-person singular simple present defames, present participle defaming, simple past and past participle defamed)

  1. To disgrace; to bring into disrepute. [from 4th c.]
    • 1697, Virgil, “The Tenth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      My guilt thy growing virtues did defame; / My blackness blotted thy unblemish'd name.
  2. (now chiefly historical) To charge; to accuse (someone) of an offence. [from 14th c.]
    Rebecca is [] defamed of sorcery practised on the person of a noble knight.
  3. To harm or diminish the reputation of; to disparage. [from 4th c.]
    to defame somebody


Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


defame (countable and uncountable, plural defames)

  1. (now rare, archaic) Disgrace, dishonour. [from 14th c.]
    • 1613, John Marston, William Barksted, The Insatiate Countess, I.1:
      And all the sparks that may bring unto flame / Hate betwixt man and wife, or breed defame.
  2. (now rare or nonstandard) Defamation; slander, libel. [from 15th c.]

Further reading[edit]