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character assassination

Definition of character assassination

  • calumniation
  • libelling
  • vilification

Examples of character assassination in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'character assassination.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1822, in the meaning defined above

Dictionary Entries Near character assassination

character actor

character dance

Cite this Entry

“Character assassination.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/character%20assassination. Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.

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Meaning of character assassination in English

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  • anti-defamation
  • drag someone's name through the mire/mud idiom
  • give a dog a bad name idiom
  • hurl/throw/sling mud at someone idiom
  • scurrilously
  • self-immolation
  • show someone in a bad light idiom

Examples of character assassination

Translations of character assassination.

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scare the daylights out of someone

to frighten someone very much

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Definition of 'character assassination'

  • character assassination

character assassination in British English

Character assassination in american english, trends of character assassination.

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  • character actor
  • character actress
  • character armour
  • character code
  • character comedy
  • character defect
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  • character assassination

a slandering attack, especially one intended to damage the reputation of a public or political figure.

Origin of character assassination

Words nearby character assassination.

  • char-à-banc
  • character actor
  • character armour
  • character code
  • character dance
  • character defense
  • character disorder
  • characterful

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for character assassination

the act of deliberately attempting to destroy a person's reputation by defamatory remarks

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Definition of character assassination noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

character assassination

  • He claimed that he was the victim of character assassination by the press.

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character assassination noun

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What does the noun character assassination mean?

There is one meaning in OED's entry for the noun character assassination . See ‘Meaning & use’ for definition, usage, and quotation evidence.

How common is the noun character assassination ?

How is the noun character assassination pronounced, british english, u.s. english, where does the noun character assassination come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the noun character assassination is in the 1820s.

OED's earliest evidence for character assassination is from 1822, in Philosophical Magazine .

character assassination is formed within English, by compounding.

Etymons: character n. , assassination n.

Nearby entries

  • charact, n. c1384–
  • character, n. c1350–
  • character, v. 1555–
  • character-act, v. 1895–
  • character acting, n. 1856–
  • character actor, n. 1841–
  • character actress, n. 1863–
  • characteral, adj. 1656
  • character arc, n. 1984–
  • character assassin, n. 1812–
  • character assassination, n. 1822–
  • character-based, adj. 1978–
  • character code, n. 1957–
  • character comedian, n. 1857–
  • character dance, n. 1757–
  • character dancer, n. 1864–
  • character dancing, n. 1862–
  • character-driven, adj. 1971–
  • charactered, adj. 1598–
  • characterful, adj. 1880–
  • characterial, adj. 1824–

Meaning & use

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Entry history for character assassination, n..

Originally published as part of the entry for character, n.

character assassination, n. was revised in June 2014

character assassination, n. was last modified in July 2023

oed.com is a living text, updated every three months. Modifications may include:

  • further revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations.

Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into character assassination, n. in July 2023.

Earlier versions of character, n. were published in:

OED First Edition (1889)

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OED Second Edition (1989)

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Citation details

Factsheet for character assassination, n., browse entry.

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character assassination

  • 1.1 Pronunciation
  • 1.2.1 Synonyms
  • 1.2.2 Translations

English [ edit ]

Pronunciation [ edit ], noun [ edit ].

character assassination ( countable and uncountable , plural character assassinations )

  • 2011 December 14, Angelique Chrisafis, “Rachida Dati accuses French PM of sexism and elitism”, in Guardian ‎ [1] : For months, Dati warned she would refuse to stand aside. Now she has stunned the political class with an open letter to Fillon in Le Monde, a scathing character assassination accusing him of the "lone ambition" of a disillusioned political elite, of doing politics in a way that "never favoured women" and stopping ethnic-minority candidates from progressing at elections. She said he was committing "a sad mistake" in trying to run in Paris.

Synonyms [ edit ]

  • demonization , demonizing
  • smear campaign
  • swiftboating
  • vilification

Translations [ edit ]

define character assassination

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  4. Character assassination Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of CHARACTER ASSASSINATION is the slandering of a person usually with the intention of destroying public confidence in that person.

  5. Character assassination

    The phrase "character


    character assassination definition: 1. an intentional attempt to spoil the reputation of a person by criticizing them severely…. Learn more.

  7. Definition of 'character assassination'

    CHARACTER ASSASSINATION definition: A character assassination is a deliberate attempt to destroy someone's reputation,... | Meaning, pronunciation

  8. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION Definition & Usage Examples

    Character assassination definition: . See examples of CHARACTER ASSASSINATION used in a sentence.

  9. Character assassination Definition & Meaning

    CHARACTER ASSASSINATION meaning: the act of saying false things about a person usually in order to make the public stop liking or trusting that person.

  10. character-assassination noun

    Definition of character-assassination noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar

  11. Character assassination

    an attack intended to ruin someone's reputation.

  12. character assassination, n. meanings, etymology and more

    character assassination, n. meanings, etymology, pronunciation and more in the Oxford English Dictionary.

  13. What is the definition of 'character assassination'? What are some

    Character assassination is the process that destroys the credibility and reputation of a person, institution, organization, social group, or nation with methods

  14. character assassination

    Norwegian: Bokmål: karakterdrap (no) n ... masc. masc. dual masc. pl. fem. fem. dual fem. pl. common