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defamation n

1 : communication to third parties of false statements about a person that injure the reputation of or deter others from associating with that person see also libel , slander New York Times Co. v. Sullivan in the Important Cases section compare disparagement , false light , slander of title
2 : a defamatory communication [every repetition of the is a publication "W. L. Prosser and W. P. Keeton"]

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.