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tr.v. ma·ligned, ma·lign·ing, ma·ligns
To make evil, harmful, and often untrue statements about (someone).
1. Evil or harmful in nature or effect: "He felt that the malign influence of the house had governed his own disintegration" (Thomas Wolfe).
2. Intending or threatening harm or ill will; malevolent: "a snarling, bickering husky ... heavy-chested, with a malign eye" (Jack London).

[Middle English malignen, to attack, from Old French malignier, from Late Latin malignārī, from Latin malignus, malign; see genə- in Indo-European roots. Adj., from Middle English, from Old French, from Latin malignus.]

ma·lign′er n.
ma·lign′ly adv.
Synonyms: malign, defame, traduce, vilify, slander, calumniate, libel
These verbs mean to make evil, harmful, often untrue statements about another. Malign stresses malicious intent: "Have I not taken your part when you were maligned?" (William Makepeace Thackeray).
Defame suggests damage to reputation through misrepresentation: The plaintiff had been defamed and had legitimate grounds for a lawsuit.
Traduce connotes the humiliation or disgrace resulting from such damage: "My character was traduced by Captain Hawkins ... even the ship's company cried out shame" (Frederick Marryat).
Vilify pertains to open, deliberate, vicious defamation: "As long as there have been personal fouls and holding penalties, sports fans have vilified referees for making bad calls" (Jason Zinoman).
Slander and calumniate apply to oral expression: He slandered his political opponent. She calumniated and ridiculed her former employer.
Libel involves the communication of written or pictorial material: The celebrity sued the tabloid that libeled her.
References in classic literature ?
He had never been suspected of stealing a silver tea-pot; he had been maligned respecting a mustard-pot, but it turned out to be only a plated one.
Lydgate was not at all sure that the Vicar maligned himself.
But first let me remind you that you maligned me before the girl--that you kept her to yourself, and would not share her with me--"
Persecuted, maligned, and misunderstood, the forlorn and lonely man made no attempt at retaliation.
After that, as I saw that he had not maligned my class, and that the harsh and bitter things he said about it were justified, I had drawn closer to him again.
But you do not know, inspector, how I have been persecuted and maligned.
My honour is as untouched as that of the bitterest enemy who ever maligned me.
It is a tacit insult to him as my choice and confidential friend to do so, remembering the cause you sided with, on the day he was maligned at Westminster.
Altaf said that MQM is a party of middleclass workers which is being intentionally maligned.
THE Congress on Sunday defended its Lok Sabha candidate from Saharanpur, Imran Masood, and said the BJP's complaint to the Election Commission over his alleged remark against Narendra Modi maligned the ruling party and violated the poll code.
28 ( ANI ): Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Kunal Ghosh, who has been suspended from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for his anti-party activities, on Saturday said the allegation that his statement has maligned the image of the party is baseless.
Speaking on a point of order MQM lawmaker Asif Hasnain said that under the constitution, no one should be maligned without any solid evidence.