Word: calumniate

Pronunciation: kə-LƏM-nee-ayt

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: make false and defamatory statements about

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Here’s yet another word I learned from the Association game in the Elevate – Brain Training app. Like many of the words in the game, this one was a formal synonym for one of the common words in the given set—in this case, the word “insult”. It certainly works as a literary term; in stories where slander is rampant, expect certain characters to “calumniate” their enemies!

To “calumniate” someone is to make defamatory and false statements about them. The word arose in the mid 16th century and comes from the Latin verb calumniari, meaning “to accuse falsely”. This verb stems from the noun calumnia, which means “false accusation”.

The verb “calumniate” is related to the noun “calumny”, meaning “the making of false and defamatory statements in order to damage someone’s reputation”. If you have trouble remembering what these words mean, try associating them with the word “callous”, which means “showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others”. If your characters make a habit of insulting others, “calumniate” may be a good word to include in your stories!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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