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libel = slander?

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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

Answer:
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
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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?

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

Sounds like it. ;)

-Tim
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