Slander or libel?

14 Oct

OK: confession time. I mixed these two up myself the other day, and used the wrong one.  I was so excited about thinking up examples for another troublesome pair that I didn’t stop and think. Well, nobody’s perfect! And my penance is to write this post.

Both slander and libel deal with telling lies about somebody. But it’s the medium used to spread these lies that makes the difference.

Slander is the crime, or action, of making a false spoken statement that is detrimental or damaging to a person’s reputation.

Libel is the publication in print of a false statement that is detrimental or damaging to a person’s reputation, or to defame by publishing a libel.

So if you say it, it’s slander: if you print it (or publish it in a form that counts as printing it, like on the internet), it’s libel.

Got that? I have!

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “Slander or libel?

  1. HElen

    October 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    can you do an entry on burglary, robbery etc?


    • Liz at Libro

      October 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

      Helen – good idea, I’ll add that to the list!


  2. Holmesfan

    October 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I thought I sent a comment on the libel/slander pair but don’t see it here. Was I dreaming?


    • Liz at Libro

      October 20, 2011 at 9:36 am

      Hi Jan, you commented on the original post where I mixed the two up, prompting to to write and publish this one!



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