Slander Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Slander, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Slander?

(n)Slander is an act of defemating a person by oral assertion of untrue statement with an intention to hurt his reputation and honor. It is a civil wrong and a slanderer is liable for damages.

History and Definition of Slander

Slander is a legal term that refers to false spoken statements that harm a person's reputation. It is considered a civil wrong, and the person who commits slander can be held liable for damages. The history of slander dates back to Roman law, where it was a crime to publicly insult someone's character.

In the United States, slander falls under the larger legal category of defamation, which includes libel (a written false statement) as well as slander. To prove slander, the plaintiff must show that the defendant made a false statement about them, that the statement was spoken to someone else, and that the statement caused harm to their reputation.

Examples of Slander

  1. A person tells their co-workers that their boss is stealing money from the company, causing the boss's reputation to be damaged and potentially leading to job loss or legal action.
  2. A politician accuses their opponent of being involved in criminal activity during a televised debate, even though they have no proof to support this claim, damaging their opponent's reputation.
  3. A neighbor spreads rumors around the community that another neighbor is a drug addict and has a criminal record, causing harm to their reputation and relationships with others.

Legal Terms Similar to Slander

  • Libel: A false written statement that harms a person's reputation.
  • Defamation: The overall legal term that encompasses both slander and libel.
  • Invasion of Privacy: A legal term that refers to the violation of a person's right to privacy, which can include both written and spoken statements about their private life.
  • False Light: A legal term that refers to the portrayal of someone in a false or misleading way, either through written or spoken statements or through images or video.