calumny

Use the noun calumny to characterize verbal attacks that are meant to destroy reputations or friendships. You've probably seen political ads during election time that rely on calumny to move voters.

Calumny comes from the Latin word calvi, meaning "to trick, deceive," which is why it can also describe falsely accusing someone or quoting them out of context with the intent to do them harm. Some political candidates use this tactic against opponents in the hope that voters will be tricked into thinking that the accusations are true.

Definitions of calumny
  1. noun
    a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions
    synonyms: calumniation, defamation, hatchet job, obloquy, traducement
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    assassination, blackwash, character assassination
    an attack intended to ruin someone's reputation
    malignment, smear, vilification
    slanderous defamation
    libel
    a false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person
    slander
    words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
    name calling, names
    verbal abuse; a crude substitute for argument
    epithet, name
    a defamatory or abusive word or phrase
    mud
    slanderous remarks or charges
    smear word
    an epithet that can be used to smear someone's reputation
    type of:
    depreciation, derogation, disparagement
    a communication that belittles somebody or something
  2. noun
    an abusive attack on a person's character or good name
    synonyms: aspersion, defamation, denigration, slander
    see moresee less
    type of:
    attack
    strong criticism
Word Family