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SAT vocabulary: calumniate

What does calumniate mean? You’re about to find out!

Quick Vocab Quiz for the word calumniate

First, before you read the explanation, definition, and discussion of the word calumniate, try this quick vocab quiz:

calumniate most nearly means

(A) deny (B) abrogate (C) annul (D) slander (E) rejoice

(Answer is below.)

Part of Speech: VERB

Pronunciations: IPA: /kə.ˈlʌm.ni.eɪt/ Glossary-style: [kuh-LUHM-nee-ayt]

Definition: tell lies intended to damage, disparage, or hurt someone or someone’s reputation.

Give it to me straight: calumniate is a pretty fancy-sounding word, but it’s actually quite simple in concept. If you tell lies about someone to hurt him or his reputation, you’re engaging in calumny. (calumny is the noun form of calumniate.) For example, rival politicians may engage in calumny by accusing each other of various unsavory acts, but of course, could be sued in court for doing so.

We actually don’t use this word in modern American English as much as we do the words slander and libel, which both mean something very similar.

Example: The wealthy aristocrat was shocked that one of his employees would dare to calumniate him by claiming that he was abusive to his servants.

Answer to the quick quiz above:

Answer Click Here to Show the Answer!

By Erin Billy

Founder of TestMagic, Inc. in San Francisco, USA.

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