Libel Or Slander?

May 12, 2011 | Grammar and Usage, Other Helpful Information, Proofreading


Libel or Slander?

Updated August 2023

The differences between the definitions of libel and slander are easy to remember.

Libel: Libel refers to dubious written statements that are presented as facts and are damaging to one’s character. If a newspaper prints an article about the misdeeds of a politician, the newspaper is guilty of libel—as long as the allegations are untrue.

Slander: If the politician’s ex-wife goes around town telling everyone fibs about what a crook her former husband is, she is guilty of slander.

So, in a nutshell:

Libel = written falsehoods that do damage.

Slander = spoken falsehoods that do damage.

Here’s an easy way to remember the difference: Slander is Spoken.

And now you know the difference between libel and slander and you can use these words the correct way from now on!

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