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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a libel action (=taken against someone who has writen or printed untrue statements about you)
▪ Judge Johan Kreigler dismissed a libel action brought against two newspapers.
a libel case (=against someone who has written a bad statement about someone else)
▪ damages awarded by juries in libel cases
a libel lawyer
▪ The actress is unhappy about the magazine article and has consulted a libel lawyer.
sue (sb) for libel/defamation/negligence/slander etc
▪ Miss James could not afford to sue for libel.
▪ She was suing doctors for negligence over the loss of her child.
▪ Then in an appropriate case the public authority may be able to secure the institution of a prosecution for criminal libel.
▪ The purpose of criminal libel was to prevent loss of confidence in Government.
▪ The bishops were sent to the Tower on the grounds that their petition was seditious libel.
▪ His success in the fraudulent libel action against the Star newspaper undoubtedly frightened off a lot of the media.
▪ Damages Damages in libel actions are difficult to predict.
▪ It followed a failed libel action by journalist Jani Allan over a programme revealing their affair.
▪ The 36-year-old blonde beauty was unable to hide her bitter disappointment at failing to win her libel action against the People.
▪ And the libel action, if it comes to trial, will give us valuable national publicity if properly handled.
▪ It is obvious that the punishing cost of libel actions prevents Francis from making direct accusations against current athletes.
▪ The Mona Bauwens libel case jury.
▪ But they say legal aid should be available for proceedings under their Protection of Privacy Bill as well in libel cases.
▪ The historian David Irving has applied for permission to appeal against a libel case judgment that branded him a Holocaust denier.
▪ Recent high awards of damages in libel cases have led the Court of Appeal to a greater willingness to interfere.
▪ Punitive damages in libel cases are a legal anomaly.
▪ Read in studio Count Nikolai Tolstoy has failed in his attempt to avoid paying libel damages.
▪ The public's dislike of unprincipled press behaviour has sometimes been expressed in the award of erratically large libel damages.
▪ Two and a half years ago, he faced having to pay record libel damages of one and a half million pounds.
▪ Newspapers pay libel damages to footballer and two actors.
▪ For all its dangers, there are three features of the present libel law which protect careless or incompetent journalists.
▪ The ruling's brought more calls for changes to the libel laws.
▪ The ad has been subsequently withdrawn from a number of magazines because of the fear of possible legal action under libel laws.
▪ Truth, however tawdry or trivial, may be told without let or hindrance from libel laws.
▪ But there is no doubt that libel law does in other respects impinge upon the justifiable freedom of the press.
▪ We will defend vigorously the libel proceedings commenced us by Virgin and its owner and any other proceedings they choose to commence.
▪ This court is in no way prejudging any defence of justification which may hereafter be raised in those libel proceedings.
▪ It led to a libel suit against the Times for hinting at his involvement in laundering drug money.
▪ Insults and libel suits were exchanged.
▪ A libel trial is in large parts intensely soporific, if you are not on the receiving end.
▪ There are several unusual things about this libel trial.
▪ Self-knowledge, after all, comes cheaper than libel writs.
▪ Accordingly the House rejected the committee's recommendations and ruled that the issuing of the libel writ was not a contempt.
▪ His indignation frequently boiled over to a point where he thought and demanded that a libel writ should be issued.
▪ The familiar Maxwell reach for a libel writ brought about an immediate public apology.
▪ You needed to tone down the quotes at times to avert a libel writ.
▪ He issued a libel writ after John Patten's comments at a Tory party fringe meeting.
▪ a libel suit
▪ Holt sued the newspaper for libel.
▪ He was vindicated when he successfully sued the tabloid that broke the story for libel.
▪ That's where the libel comes in.
▪ Kandell contends he was libeled by the Journal.
▪ He did not look like anyone she had libelled lately.
▪ It libelled the plaintiff who issued a writ against the editor.
▪ Those who were libelled in the Fanzine may feel less aggrieved knowing it was for a good cause.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Libel \Li"bel\ (l[imac]"b[e^]l), v. i. To spread defamation, written or printed; -- with against.

What's this but libeling against the senate?

[He] libels now 'gainst each great man.


Libel \Li"bel\ (l[imac]"b[e^]l), n. [L. libellus a little book, pamphlet, libel, lampoon, dim. of liber the liber or inner bark of a tree; also (because the ancients wrote on this bark), paper, parchment, or a roll of any material used to write upon, and hence, a book or treatise: cf. F. libelle.]

  1. A brief writing of any kind, esp. a declaration, bill, certificate, request, supplication, etc. [Obs.]

    A libel of forsaking [divorcement].
    --Wyclif (Matt. v. 31).

  2. Any defamatory writing; a lampoon; a satire.

  3. (Law) A malicious publication expressed either in print or in writing, or by pictures, effigies, or other signs, tending to expose another to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule. Such publication is indictable at common law.

    Note: The term, in a more extended sense, includes the publication of such writings, pictures, and the like, as are of a blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene character. These also are indictable at common law.

  4. (Law) The crime of issuing a malicious defamatory publication.

  5. (Civil Law & Courts of Admiralty) A written declaration or statement by the plaintiff of his cause of action, and of the relief he seeks.


Libel \Li"bel\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Libeled (-b[e^]ld) or Libelled; p. pr. & vb. n. Libeling or Libelling.]

  1. To defame, or expose to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, by a writing, picture, sign, etc.; to lampoon.

    Some wicked wits have libeled all the fair.

  2. (Law) To proceed against by filing a libel, particularly against a ship or goods.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, "formal written statement," especially, in civil law, "plaintiff's statement of charges" (mid-14c.); from Old French libelle (fem.) "small book; (legal) charge, claim; writ; written report" (13c.), from Latin libellus "a little book, pamphlet; petition, written accusation, complaint," diminutive of liber "book" (see library). Broader sense of "any published or written statement likely to harm a person's reputation" is first attested 1630s.


mid-15c., "make an initial statement setting out a plaintiff's case" (modern sense from 1560s), from libel (n.), q.v. for sense development. Related: Libeled; libelled; libeling; libelling.


n. 1 A written or pictorial statement which unjustly seeks to damage someone's reputation. 2 (context uncountable English) The act or crime of displaying such a statement publicly. 3 Any defamatory writing; a lampoon; a satire. 4 (context law English) A written declaration or statement by the plaintiff of his cause of action, and of the relief he seeks. 5 A brief writing of any kind, especially a declaration, bill, certificate, request, supplication, etc. vb. 1 (context transitive English) To defame someone, especially in a manner that meets the legal definition of libel. 2 (context legal English) To proceed against (a ship, goods, etc.) by filing a libel.

  1. v. print slanderous statements against; "The newspaper was accused of libeling him"

  2. [also: libelling, libelled]

  1. n. a tort consisting of false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person

  2. the written statement of a plaintiff explaining the cause of action (the defammation) and any relief he seeks

  3. [also: libelling, libelled]

Libel (disambiguation)

A libel is a malicious, false statement in written media, a broadcast, or otherwise published words.

Libel may also refer to:

  • Libel (film) (1959), a British drama film
  • Libel (poetry), a verse genre primarily of the Renaissance
  • Libel (Rychnov nad Kněžnou District), a village in the Rychnov nad Kněžnou District of the Czech Republic
  • Libel (admiralty law), a proceeding in admiralty law
Libel (poetry)

Libel is a verse genre primarily of the Renaissance, descended from the tradition of invective in classical Greek and Roman poetry. Libel is usually expressly political, and balder and coarser than satire. Libels were generally not published but circulated among friends and political partisans in manuscript.

Libel (film)

Libel is a 1959 British drama film. It stars Olivia de Havilland, Dirk Bogarde, Paul Massie, Wilfrid Hyde-White and Robert Morley. The film's screenplay was written by Anatole de Grunwald and Karl Tunberg from a 1935 play of the same name by Edward Wooll.

The film's location shots included Longleat House, Wiltshire, and London.

Libel (Rychnov nad Kněžnou District)

Libel is a village and municipality in Rychnov nad Kněžnou District in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic.

Category:Villages in Rychnov nad Kněžnou District

Libel (admiralty law)

A libel, in admiralty law, is the first pleading of the complainant.

Usage examples of "libel".

To punish the exercise of this right to discuss public affairs or to penalize it through libel judgments is to abridge or shut off discussion of the very kind most needed.

Hansard for the sale of this report, on the ground that the allegation therein contained about the work was a libel.

Raeburn, and consequently had heard enough of the truth about him to disbelieve the gross libels which were constantly being circulated by the unscrupulous among his opponents.

Her daughter told her that if I liked I might claim damages for libel, and that if she did not wish to injure her reputation she would say nothing more about what had happened.

Now it had already been acknowledged, on the dictum of no less a man than Sir Gregory Grogram, the Attorney-General, that the action for libel, if taken at all, must be taken, not on the part of the Prime Minister, but on that of Phineas Finn.

But in the present state of things, if he does not put in an appearance we will get judgment against him for contempt of court and also for libel.

Noah Webster, editor, author, lexicographer, and staunch Federalist, declared it time to stop newspaper editors from libeling those with whom they disagreed, and to his friend Timothy Pickering wrote to urge that the new law be strictly enforced.

After all no one at Megalith, not Jemima Shore and certainly not Cy Fredericks, wanted to be confronted by the sight of Franklyn Faber, emerging from obscurity alive and well, and flanked by libel lawyers.

A hundred of these wretches who have libeled liberty by perpetrating crimes in her name must be effectually prevented from renewing their atrocities.

This libel on our national oath, and this accusation of all our countrymen of being in the daily practice of solemnly asseverating the most enormous falsehood, I fear deserves the notice of a more active Attorney General than that here alluded to.

The country party affirmed, that Fitzharris had been employed by the court, in order to throw the odium of the libel on the exclusionists, and thereby give rise to a Protestant plot: the court party maintained, that the exclusionists had found out Fitzharris, a spy of the ministers, and had set him upon this undertaking, from an intention of loading the court with the imputation of such a design upon the exclusionists.

In a successful libel action, the author, printer, and publisher are joint tortfeasors, and none of them can indemnify the other.

Though it was clearly a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech, its Federalist proponents in Congress insisted, like Adams, that it was a war measure, and an improvement on the existing common law in that proof of the truth of the libel could be used as a legitimate defense.

By: Kim Isaac Eisler Category: nonfiction biography Synopsis: A biography of one of the greatest Supreme Court Justices of this century explores his role in landmark decisions on pornography, libel, desegregation, search and seizure, and legislative redistricting.

Whig, he abjured and detested them, and hoped to see the day, not only when they should be deemed libels, but when the authors of such doctrines should be liable to punishment.