libeling


libeling
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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. 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

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. 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. 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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