Also found in: Wikipedia.


The act of making exaggerated or unsubstantiated allegations to damage the credibility of a political candidate or other public figure.

[After the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of Swift Boat crew members who opposed the 2004 presidential candidacy of American politician John Kerry (born 1943) and alleged that Kerry's decorations for service in the Vietnam War were undeserved.]

swift′boat′ v.
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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Michael Bellesiles is perhaps most famous as the target of an infamous 'swiftboating' campaign by the National Rifle Association, following the publication of his Bancroft Prize-winning book Arming America."
The Swiftboating of John Kerry's military heroism and the demonizing of Mitt Romney's Mormonism will look like love pats once the opposition attack dogs sink their teeth into the country's first Jewish presidential nominee--whether it's Bernie or someone else.
The political attacks on his service later generated a new verb, "swiftboating." He earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his service and wounds, but returned home to become a leader in the anti-Vietnam war movement.
In fact, such dishonest accusations ultimately made their way to the English-language dictionary with the word 'swiftboating', in the sense of falsely accusing a political rival and deliberately tarnishing his reputation.
Because Ehrlich's book, Mann claims, "has ultimately proven prophetic," condemnations of its "alarmism" by the likes of Julian Simon can only be regarded as early examples of invidious "swiftboating." This claim is preposterous.
Hearing all the rationales against health care reform coming from so many who seem certain we'd be doomed by it reminds me of nothing less than the swiftboating that prevented a change of course back in 2004.
While the rise of "swiftboating" and "birtherism" may have produced politicians that some of us view as silly, Mannies said she tries to treat all of her sources respectfully.
It would have saved their opponents the trouble of "swiftboating" John Kerry or making so much of the picture of Michael Dukakis riding in the tank.
More recent times yielded the astonishing practice of "swiftboating," in which a bona fide American hero, John Kerry, was viciously attacked as a poseur by right-wing activists posing as apolitical combat veterans.
Four years ago this month, with E&P's Joe Strupp, I explored in a number of articles the belated or conflicted media response to the "swiftboating" of Sen.
The stepped-up effort by the press came after, and was in large measure a response to, the not-so-sterling media handling of the Swiftboating of Sen.
See "Swiftboating, Stealth Budgeting, and Unitary Executives," November/December 2006, p.