What is the Difference Between Slander and Defamation?

Anna B. Smith

Slander and defamation are two words which both mean that something untrue has been communicated, as fact, about someone or something. Slander is a type of defamation. This term is used when the type of communication that contained the false claim is verbal.

Slander is a type of defamation.
Slander is a type of defamation.

Defamation may also be referred to as libel. This term is used when the false communication has been written or published. The difference between slander and libel is the way in which the untrue statements were made, whether verbal or written. Both are examples of defamation, however.

Slander might include allegations of a person taking bribes.
Slander might include allegations of a person taking bribes.

Slander and defamation are acts that may be considered criminal and are often prosecutable by the law. The three most common types of slander are slander of character, slander of title, and slander of goods. Different court proceedings and punishments exist in most countries for slander and libel. It may be helpful to consult legal representation before charging another party with slander and defamation, so that counsel can determine whether the accusation is slanderous or libelous.

Printing negative stories about a person or corporation is an example of defamation.
Printing negative stories about a person or corporation is an example of defamation.

Slander of character is a false statement about an individual, which casts that person in a negative light. This type of defamation may also be made against an organization or a company. For the accusation to be considered criminal, it must be implied or stated to be truth when it is, in reality, a lie. It must also be made with malicious intentions.

Criminal defamation is the act of communicating something negative or damaging about a second party, and implying that it is fact when in reality it is false.
Criminal defamation is the act of communicating something negative or damaging about a second party, and implying that it is fact when in reality it is false.

Slander per se and slander per quo are the two types of slander and defamation of character. Slander per se is determined when the false accusation or statement made is instantly and clearly damaging to the party in question. A politician in a race for an election who appears on television and says that his or her opponent has been taking bribes while running for office, yet has no proof of this fact, would be guilty of slander per se. Slander per quo is often more difficult to prove in court because the falsehoods in question have long-term damaging effects that are not immediately apparent.

Slander of title occurs when one individual makes a false claim regarding the property of another. This may take the form of one party boasting ownership of a parcel of real estate which, in actuality, belongs to someone else, and attempting to receive payment for that property. It may also come in the form of a person making unkind and untrue remarks about a piece of land that causes it to be viewed negatively. An example of this would be someone claiming a building is infested with cockroaches to prevent it from being sold when it, in fact, has no such problem.

When one person says something negative and damaging in regards to another person's merchandise, they may be accused of slander of goods. This type of defamation could be argued if a television news show claimed a product was made with faulty, malfunctioning parts when, in reality, there was nothing harmful or damaging in the product. Both slanders of title and of goods must be considered intentional and malicious in nature to be prosecuted legally.

Libel occurs when a person makes a false, written statement intended to harm another person.
Libel occurs when a person makes a false, written statement intended to harm another person.

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While I was sedated from a medical procedure, my husband went home, closed our joint bank account, disconnected my phone and changed the locks on our home. About a month later, he threw my things in the street and the police went by and told him he could not so he put what he didn't want in a storage.

When I was physically able, I traveled back to my home and with the police's O.K., I went to my home to see what was there (I got food and trash bags a bicycle and some files).

I crawled through the dog door, although the police said I could break a window if I had to. Anyway, I traveled back to where I was staying about 3 hrs away and 2 or 3 days after that I got a call from the manager of the trailer park saying our trailer burned to the ground and that the neighbor said he was hunting and anyway, they needed to get a hold of him. The fire was deemed suspicious and I spoke to the fire marshal on several occasions and provided a written statement. I thought it was a fluke how that happened. The fire ended up being ruled as "undetermined" and I didn't think anything more of it, I was not on the insurance and didn't get anything from it. My cat died in the fire. I have nothing, my husband picked through what he didn't want and put it in my storage. Mostly my clothes and other personal effects. Now it has come to light several months later that he is telling everyone that I was responsible for the fire. His son has messaged me twice telling me what a horrible person I am and now his friend messaged me and said I should be in prison, my husband recently tried to file a restraining order against me saying he feared for his life and that I committed arson although there is no evidence of that. I am a small person(5'4" 110lbs) he is 5;9" and 175 lbs) and I live 3 hours from him, I have never threatened him - he took all the guns, even a rifle and a pistol that were mine. The judge denied the restraining order. I am devested to think there is a whole community where I lived for 20+ years thinking I had anything to do with that fire. I spend a lot of time with his younger boys and it pains me greatly to think they think I have something to do with it. I want to sue him for slander Any ideas? I want him to stop spreading lies, if he wants to say I slept around, or didn't work or whatever, (which I didn't, I'm just making a comparison) it wouldn't matter but this fire thing is pretty serious, actually he wanted us to burn the trailer down because we couldn't sell it and I refused. He pressed the issure several times and one of the last texts I got from him before he abandoned me was "we can't sell the trailer or move it what do we do now?" When I went to the trailer, my daughter drove me and helped me and the trailer looked pretty empty. All of the guns were gone, his laptop, even things his kids gave him were gone. There were some rugs my Dad gave me from Bolivia on the floor. I actually think he or his brother did it but I haven't accused him of it or told people he did it because I really don't know. I do fear him and his brother because of things they have said and his behavior such as the restraining order, I think it's because I'm holding him accountable for his actions and although he's on his 2nd attorney, I couldn't afford one and have so far represented myself and looks like I'll be getting a change of venue to the county I was living in when he filed for the divorce and he's freaking out. I have told my family if anything happens to me to look at him or his identical twin brother. He hasn't threatened me but I have an uneasy feeling. Any advice ? Thanks


A non-profit organization is currently trying to prevent us from being allowed to participate in their approved activities. These activities are our business. W are very good at what we do and win a lot of the contests, which makes a lot of people angry when we show up.

At one of these events, I got into a discussion with an individual who had been bad mouthing friends of ours and putting kids down. I told the man he was acting in a cowardly way. We parted ways and then a couple of months later, the organization had a meeting which we were unaware of. A board member from the event went before the board and the public in the meeting and accused me of making an aggravated verbal threat. It was said that I threatened to shoot the man, which did not happen. We continued through the event with no problems, the man made no report and the law was never called.

In our organization, if I had said that, it would have been the talk of the organization, and not brought up months later. The organization has embarrassed me. People are talking about me and many people are happy because the organization is trying to get their competition out of the way.

It is to the point now that the organization is sending out letters saying that we were brought up in a review board and that a motion was passed that we are unable to participate in the events. However, we have not received a letter from the organization yet, which is what we were to receive in October. The organization is saying now that they are going to leave the decision up to the individual events whether they let us participate or not.

We have been doing this for more than 30 years and we have made enemies along the way because we are so good and win a lot. We were never told about or allowed to discuss any disagreements before they had the meeting! I have been wrongfully accused of an aggravated threat. It’s like I have been convicted of a crime that I did not commit.

Our organization has parliamentary procedure in place which was not followed by allowing this person to speak on behalf of a division of the organization that had no knowledge of this. I am so angry, hurt and embarrassed. I have lost a lot of weight from the stress of all of this and this is our livelihood. The the organization is being unfair I feel, but do not know where to turn.


Recently there was an email sent to this guy about this woman going to court for drugs that she was on and letting her landlord molest her daughter. Well, I told someone about it in an email, but after I reread it I sent a message to the person and told them I was sorry I had read it wrong. Now they want to get me for slander. Can they do this to me?


When your boss calls a family member of yours and tells them you have a tumor, is that considered defamation or slander?


So someone told a bunch of lies about my home being a non-stop party house and lots of drug activity going on, etc., and are currently spreading it to the parents of 18-plus year olds to try to get them to stay away from my family.

I have three children and all of these accusations are completely untrue. Now as a result, I am limited on my babysitters (because they are not "allowed" at my home), and I lost my whole family because of it. Do I have a case?


I have some really ugly messages that were sent to my daughter's boyfriend (all minors) which aren't true but are very nasty and hurtful to her high school reputation. Would this be strong grounds to stand on.


if someone starts telling school officials, counselors, etc., that you are a perpetrator of domestic violence can you sue them for slander?


Sunny27-That is true. Another reason why people especially celebrities might forgo seeking a defamation libel case is that they are very difficult to win because the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant acted in malice.

Printing a story that is untrue is not libel if it could be argued that the defendant did not know and thought that his sources were correct.

It is only libel if there was intentional malice and it could be proven so. Also, most defamation lawyers will not work on a contingency basis like they would in a personal injury case.

The reason is simple. The judgment awards on these cases are very low and often the legal fees exceed the actual judgments. Since the litigation is costly many people forgo the filing of a slander lawsuit.


Anon124522-Defamation relates to crimes of moral turpitude that can tarnish someone’s reputation. For example, stating that a person is a thief without proof and that causes the person to actually lose business as a result of the libel and defamation is illegal.

The party that is defamed will file a slander lawsuit and will have to prove that the information is not only false, but they were irreparably damaged as a result of such actions.

Many of these slander cases involve celebrities whose livelihood depends on their public image. Tabloids like the National Enquirer have had slander lawsuits against them.

Most notably was Carol Brunette. But sometimes celebrities try to ignore the tabloids because they do not want to give these media outlets additional publicity.


Is telling/saying/shouting indecent and explicit words to another person considered oral defamation?

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