What Does Slander Mean? – GetLegal Gives Explanation

What does Slander Mean?

The term “slander” really applies to a broader variety of defamatory activities that are not contained in a fixed media, such as writing, video, or sound recording, even though it is usually linked with oral defamatory conduct. It is important to know what does slander mean, because it establishes the bounds of acceptable speech and emphasizes the legal ramifications of verbally spreading rumors or making false claims.

Slanderous comments can be made vocally or through gestures, and they are transient rather than chronic. A statement must be false and conveyed to others as fact in order to qualify as slander. Slander is not the same as honestly expressed views or viewpoints.

Slander Is a Spoken Form of Defamation

Defamation is the term for false statements made, either in writing or vocally, that do injury to someone’s reputation. Having communication with a third party is essential. It is not deemed defamatory to tell someone something you are lying to them if no one else hears or reads it. Defamation expressed in writing is referred to as libel. When it is said aloud, the term used is slander.

What Are Some Examples of Slander?

A defamatory comment needs to be false and have a plausible chance of harming the reputation of another individual. Examples include:

  • Untrue statements that a person was convicted of a crime or that they committed or attempted to commit a crime
  • Untrue statements alleging that a person committed perjury or otherwise lied under oath
  • Untrue statements that a person is having an affair
  • Untrue statements that a person has a sexually transmitted disease
  • Untrue statements that a person had sought treatment for substance abuse
  • Untrue statements that a person had engaged in domestic violence

What Are My Legal Rights If I’m a Victim of Slander? | What Are Defenses to a Slander Claim?

There is a widespread misconception that all speech is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. In actuality, there are a number of restrictions to the constitutional guarantee of free speech, including as communication that is seen as libelous, speech that infringes copyright or trademark protections, speech that is judged obscene or pornographic, and speech that encourages illicit activity.

Can I Sue Someone Who Slanders Me?

In every country, slander is a tort, or civil wrong. As a result, the victim of slander has the right to sue the person who made the false allegation for damages. In order to establish defamation, the aggrieved person must demonstrate:

  • The defendant made a communication to a third party;
  • The communication alleged an untrue and unprivileged statement of fact;
  • The statement could reasonably be construe to apply to the plaintiff; and
  • The communication caused the plaintiff to suffer injury or loss.

But it’s crucial to realize that, depending on whether the accuser is a private citizen or a public figure, various rules may apply.

Statements Regarding Private Persons: If the slanderous speech directs at a private person, the defendant can be accountable:

  • Intentional—The defendant knew the statement was untrue;
  • Reckless—The defendant made the statement with a reckless disregard for whether or not it was true; or
  • Negligent—The defendant failed to act reasonably to determine the truth or falsity of the statement.

Statements Concerning Public Figures: If the subject of the statement regard as a public figure, the defendant may only be accountable if the remarks are carelessly or willfully given.

Is Slander a Criminal Offense?

At the moment, only thirteen states—Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin—have laws that permit the prosecution of criminal defamation. However, as the bar of proof in a criminal prosecution is much higher, it is uncommon for a person to be guilty in these jurisdictions and get a jail sentence.

What Types of Damages Are Available in Slander Claims?

A plaintiff with a defamation claim can typically seek the same kinds of damages as are available in other personal injury claims:

  • Lost wages, income, or earnings
  • Any unreimbursed medical expenses, including the costs of psychological or emotional counseling
  • Damages for any pain and suffering—physical, psychological, or otherwise—as well as any loss of reputation or social standing as well as any humiliation, dishonor, or embarrassment brought on by the false statement
  • Loss of consortium or companionship, including harm to a marriage or relationship or contact with relatives or friends who get dupe into believing the falsehood
  • Loss of enjoyment of life caused by anxiety or depression

What Defenses Are Available to Allegations of Slander?

The defenses available generally correspond to the elements that must prove to show slander:

  • The truth is an absolute defense— A slander claim will fail if the central factual assertion can be independently confirm as true.
  • Statements of opinion are not slander— Nonetheless, a jury may consider all the facts and determine that an ostensible statement of opinion was actually a covered-up declaration of fact.
  • Statements made with the consent of the alleged victim are not slander.
  • Statements that not gets communicate to or a third party will not be slander.
  • Privileged communications are not slander— Communications may be exempt from qualified or absolute privilege. Statements made during legal procedures, by certain government officials, by legislators during a session, during political broadcasts or speeches, and between spouses are all covered by absolute privilege. Certain statements made by government officials or in reports, testimony given during legislative sessions, statements made in self-defense or in defense of others, and comments included in evaluations that are deemed to be fair criticism are all normally protected by qualified privilege.


The answer to what does slander mean is: False statements made aloud or through gestures that harm someone’s reputation. This type of defamation necessitates making a false statement and giving it to a third party to injure the target. While the First Amendment guarantees free expression, libelous remarks may not get protection. Through civil actions, slander victims can obtain legal remedies by proving that the statements made were harmful, untrue, and unprivileged. Slander allegations can get refute by a number of defenses, including fact and opinion. While criminal defamation laws exist in some states, charges for slander are uncommon, even if the case is handle civilly. Slander damages could cover lost wages, hospital bills, and psychological discomfort.

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