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public figure n
: an individual or entity that has acquired fame or notoriety or has participated in a particular public controversy see also limited purpose public figure compare public official NOTE: A public figure must prove actual malice in order to prevail in a defamation action.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.