Calumny

“Unfortunately, her reputation never recovered after the calumny was published in those tabloids.”

As used above, what is the best definition of calumny?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Words of praise or encouragement written about a person
Choice B - Actions or claims made to enhance one’s own reputation
Choice C - False statements intended to damage another’s reputation
Choice D - A very large hammer used to destroy buildings

Definition:

Calumny (noun) – false statements or misrepresentations that are intended to damage another’s reputation; or, the act of uttering such false statements or misrepresentations

Calumnious (adjective) – false and intended to damage another’s representation

GRE pro tips:

Did you notice that the word “calumny” kind of looks like “column,” a structural support that holds up a building? Now, if you wanted to tear down a building, you would tear down its columns, right? Similarly, if you wanted to tear down someone’s reputation, you would use calumny. So, perhaps, you can remember calumny as slander and misrepresentation that is intended to tear down the columns (foundation) of someone’s reputation.

To see calumny in action, all you have to do is look at journalism today. Although many journalists pride themselves on unbiased reporting, some willingly twist the truth in order to slander those with differing perspectives and beliefs. In many instances, calumny is politically motivated.  

Example sentences:

“Unfortunately, the editor of the magazine chose to publish the calumny that ultimately ended the actor’s career.”

“Calumnious advertising aimed at one’s opponent is an underhanded but often an effective way to win favor in an election.”