libel


libel
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  1. Law.
    1. defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
    2. the act or crime of publishing it.
    3. a formal written declaration or statement, as one containing the allegations of a plaintiff or the grounds of a charge.
  2. anything that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents.

verb (used with object), li·beled, li·bel·ing or (especially British) li·belled, li·bel·ling.

  1. to publish a libel against.
  2. to misrepresent damagingly.
  3. to institute suit against by a libel, as in an admiralty court.

noun

  1. the act of suing a writer for alleged defamation in a foreign jurisdiction where there are weak libel laws.

noun

  1. someone who engages in libel tourism.

noun

  1. the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals: blood libels that spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages.

noun

  1. law
    1. the publication of defamatory matter in permanent form, as by a written or printed statement, picture, etc
    2. the act of publishing such matter
  2. any defamatory or unflattering representation or statement
  3. ecclesiastical law a claimant’s written statement of claim
  4. Scots law the formal statement of a charge

verb -bels, -belling or -belled or US -bels, -beling or -beled (tr)

  1. law to make or publish a defamatory statement or representation about (a person)
  2. to misrepresent injuriously
  3. ecclesiastical law to bring an action against (a person) in the ecclesiastical courts

n.c.1300, “formal written statement,” especially, in civil law, “plaintiff’s statement of charges” (mid-14c.); from Old French libelle (fem.) “small book; (legal) charge, claim; writ; written report” (13c.), from Latin libellus “a little book, pamphlet; petition, written accusation, complaint,” diminutive of liber “book” (see library). Broader sense of “any published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation” is first attested 1630s. v.mid-15c., “make an initial statement setting out a plaintiff’s case” (modern sense from 1560s), from libel (n.), q.v. for sense development. Related: Libeled; libelled; libeling; libelling. A written, printed, or pictorial statement that unjustly defames someone publicly. Prosecution of libel as a punishable offense puts some measure of restriction on freedom of the press under the First Amendment (see also First Amendment).
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