Calumny is technically the act of a person falsely accusing another person of a crime. However, the common definition of calumny means the act of maliciously (i.e. with the intent to do harm) misrepresenting someone’s conduct to harm that person’s reputation. In fact, this definition of calumny encompasses the tort of defamation. Defamation is any spoken or written words that are used to harm a person’s reputation. Written words used to harm a person’s reputation is libel, and spoken words used to harm a person’s reputation is slander.
[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]