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 403869432:
      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 termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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 readingEdit