If something is scurrilous, it's meant to offend. Scurrilous rumors can give you a bad reputation, and scurrilous stories sell tabloid magazines.

If you say something scurrilous about someone, your intentions are bad: you mean to damage their reputation or insult them (or quite possibly both). Writing an article for the school newspaper in which you claim that your math teacher has a secret life as a circus clown could be seen as a scurrilous attack, unless she proudly moonlights entertaining kids with her juggling skills. This adjective comes from the Latin scurrilis, "buffoonlike."

Definitions of scurrilous

adj expressing offensive reproach

abusive, opprobrious
causing anger or annoyance

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