late 13c., sclaundre, "state of impaired reputation; disgrace or dishonor;" c. 1300, "a false tale or report spread maliciously; the fabrication and dissemination of false tales to discredit someone," from Anglo-French esclaundre, Old French esclandre "scandalous statement," alteration ("with interloping l" [Century Dictionary]) of escandle, escandre "scandal," from Latin scandalum "cause of offense, stumbling block, temptation" (see scandal).
It is attested from mid-14c. as "action or situation that brings shame or disgrace;" late 14c. as "a bad situation, evil action" and in reference to a person causing such a state of affairs.
The injury [slander] consists in falsely and maliciously charging another with the commission of some public offense criminal in itself, and indictable, and subjecting the party to an infamous punishment, or involving moral turpitude, or the breach of some public trust, or with any matter in relation to his particular trade or vocation, and which, if true, would render him unworthy of employment ; or, lastly, with any other matter or thing by which special injury is sustained. [James Kent, "Commentaries on American Law," 1844]
late 13c., sclaundren, "defame, caluminate, accuse falsely and maliciously," from Anglo-French esclaundrer, Old French esclandrer, from Old French esclandre "scandalous statement" (see slander (n.)). Related: Slandered; slandering; slanderer. In early biblical translations also sometimes closer to the Latin literal sense, or with a notion of "stumbling block to faith, grace, etc."
And who euer schal sclaundre oon of these litle that bileuen in me, it were betere to hym that a mylne stoon of assis were don aboute his necke, and he were cast in to the see. [Mark ix.42]
Where KJV has "And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."
1580s, "damage to one's reputation," from French scandale, from Late Latin scandalum "cause for offense, stumbling block, temptation," from Greek skandalon "a stumbling block, offense; a trap or snare laid for an enemy."
The Greek noun in this form seems to be attested first in Septuagint (25 times) and the Greek New Testament (15 times) as "cause of moral stumblings," translating a Hebrew word meaning "a noose, a snare." The Biblical use is presumably figurative or metaphoric, and OED and others conclude that it is "certainly an old word meaning 'trap' " or a variant of one. Presumably, then, originally "trap with a springing device" (compare related skandalē "stick of a trap," the trigger which is pulled by the cord to spring it), if it is from PIE *skand- "to leap, climb" (see scan (v.), as is proposed in Watkins (Beekes is skeptical); also see slander (n.), which is another form of the same word.
The word is used in "Ancrene Riwle" (c. 1200), scandle, "discredit to religion resulting from bad behavior by a religious person," from Old French escandle, eschandle (12c.); Anglo-French scandle, and Latin scandalum. But the modern word likely is a new borrowing.
The meanings "malicious gossip" and "shameful condition, action, or event; that which causes scandal" are from 1590s; the sense of "person whose conduct is a disgrace" is by 1630s. Scandal sheet "sensational newspaper" is by 1884. Scandal-monger is from 1702.
"a curse," mid-13c., from Old French maleiçon "curse," from Latin maledictionem "the action of speaking evil of, slander," in Late Latin "a curse," noun of action from past participle stem of maledicere "to speak badly or evil of, slander," from male "badly" (see mal-) + dicere "to say" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly").
mid-15c., "false accusation, slander," from Old French calomnie (15c.), from Latin calumnia "trickery, subterfuge, misrepresentation, malicious charge," from calvi "to trick, deceive."
According to de Vaan, PIE cognates include Greek kēlein "to bewitch, cast a spell," Gothic holon "to slander," Old Norse hol "praise, flattery," Old English hol "slander," holian "to betray," Old High German huolen "to deceive." The whole group is perhaps from the same root as call (v.). A doublet of challenge.
mid-15c., malediccion, "a curse; condemnation, excommunication," from Old French maledicion "a curse" (15c.) and directly from Latin maledictionem (nominative maledictio) "the action of speaking evil of, slander," in Late Latin "a curse," noun of action from past participle stem of maledicere "to speak badly or evil of, slander," from male "badly" (see mal-) + dicere "to say" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). By 1530s as "evil-speaking, cursing, reviling."
"slanderous, using calumny," late 15c., from Latin calumniosus, from calumnia "slander, false accusation" (see calumny). Related: Calumniously; calumniousness.