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a. The legally indefensible publication or broadcast of words or images that are degrading to a person or injurious to his or her reputation.
b. An incidence of such publication or broadcast.
2. The written claims initiating a suit in an admiralty court.
tr.v. li·beled, li·bel·ing, li·bels or li·belled or li·bel·ling
To publish or broadcast a libel about (a person). See Synonyms at malign.

[Middle English, litigant's written complaint, from Old French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber, book.]

li′bel·er, li′bel·ist n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Mr James said: "We believe the comments made by Miss Honeywell (sic) and Gary Benjamin to be libelist (sic) and due to upcoming legal proceedings I've been advised not to comment."
Because of this closely circumscribed definition, accused libelists cannot escape liability by qualifying their defamatory utterances with the caveat that they were merely expressing opinions, rather than statements of fact.
For while the libelists and pamphleteers of the literary underground `showed', as Darnton comments, `that social rot was consuming French society', they identified its source at the `top'.