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defame (v.)

"speak evil of, maliciously speak or write what injures the reputation of," c. 1300, from Old French defamer (13c., Modern French diffamer), from Medieval Latin defamare, from Latin diffamare "to spread abroad by ill report, make a scandal of," from dis-, here probably suggestive of ruination, + fama "a report, rumor" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say"). Related: Defamed; defaming.

Origin and meaning of defame