- The definition of libel is a written and published false statement about someone that damages their reputation.
An example of libel is when someone publishes in the newspaper that you are a thief, even though this is false.
- To libel is defined as to make and publish a false and malicious statement about someone in writing that damages the person's reputation.
When you write an article in the newspaper about someone being a thief, even though it is not true, this is an example of libel.
- any false and malicious written or printed statement, or any sign, picture, or effigy, tending to expose a person to public ridicule, hatred, or contempt or to injure a person's reputation
- act of publishing or displaying publicly such a thing
- anything that gives an unflattering or damaging picture of the subject with which it is dealing
- in ecclesiastical law and formerly in maritime law, a written statement containing the plaintiff's grievances; initial pleading
Origin of libelME, little book from Old French from Classical Latin libellus, little book, writing, lampoon, diminutive of liber, a book: see library
transitive verb-·beled or -·belled, -·bel·ing or -·bel·ling
- to publish or make a libel against
- to give an unflattering or damaging picture of
- to bring suit against by presenting a libel (noun)
- a. The legally indefensible publication or broadcast of words or images that are degrading to a person or injurious to his or her reputation.b. An incidence of such publication or broadcast.
- The written claims initiating a suit in an admiralty court.
transitive verbli·beled, li·bel·ing, li·bels, or li·belled li·bel·ling
Origin of libelMiddle English litigant's written complaint from Old French from Latin libellus diminutive of liber book
- li′bel·er li′bel·ist
- A written or pictorial statement which unjustly seeks to damage someone's reputation.
- (uncountable) The act or crime of displaying such a statement publicly.
- Any defamatory writing; a lampoon; a satire.
- (Civil Law & Courts of Admiralty) A written declaration or statement by the plaintiff of his cause of action, and of the relief he seeks.
- A brief writing of any kind, especially a declaration, bill, certificate, request, supplication, etc.
(third-person singular simple present libels, present participle British English libelling or American English libeling, simple past and past participle British English libelled or American English libeled)
- To defame someone, especially in a manner that meets the legal definition of libel.
- He libelled her when he published that.
- (law) To proceed against (a ship, goods, etc.) by filing a libel.
From Old French libelle, from Latin libellus (“petition").
libel - Legal Definition
- A false and defamatory statement expressed in writing or in an electronic medium.
- The first document or pleading filed in an admiralty action, which is now called a complaint.