libel = slander?

Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

libel = slander?

Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:04 am

This is what I got in my inbox:

What is the Daily Buzzword for September 10?
libel \LYE-bul\ noun

What does it mean?
1 : something spoken, written, or drawn that injures a
person's good name
2 : the act or crime of publishing a libel

How do you use it?
The actress alleged that the scandalous libel published in the
tabloid ruined her career.

Are you a word wiz?
At the root of "libel" is the Latin word "liber." What do you
think "liber" means?

A. lamp
B. chair
C. book
D. fork

No harm done if you picked C. The ancient Romans originally
used "liber" for the inner bark of a tree. Because they used
the bark to write on, "liber" came to mean a written
document. After papyrus replaced bark, "liber" was used to
refer to papyrus scrolls, or "books." The French adopted a
form of "liber" to mean "little book," and English speakers
borrowed the French word as "libel." Later, "libel" was used
for handbills and leaflets. Because such leaflets were a
popular means of spreading unflattering statements about
famous people, the meaning of "libel" extended to such
stories and to the act of writing them.

And I who had learned that libel is written and slander is spoken. What's going on?

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!

Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:22 pm

Well, I guess libel can also be spoken:

Etymology: Middle English, written declaration, from Middle French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber book
1 a : a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought b archaic : a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
2 a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel

And now, comparing with slander:

Main Entry: 2slander
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English sclaundre, slaundre, from Old French esclandre, from Late Latin scandalum stumbling block, offense -- more at SCANDAL
1 : the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation
2 : a false and defamatory oral statement about a person -- compare LIBEL

So, would I be safe in the assumption that the oral defamation can be either libel or slander, whereas the written one can only be libel?

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!

User avatar
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: The Old North State

Postby tcward » Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:44 am

Sounds like it. ;)


Return to “Good Word Suggestions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests