Someone who intentionally says false statements and/or facts about someone else (directly related to and/or about them) with whom that person is in a conversation (with or without other people around), in order to embarress that person, bring them down or prevent/break the peace.

  • 1
    The only non-expletive of which I can think is bully.
    – Anonym
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 23:42
  • I guess by the sounds of it, it sounds like a bully, but maybe there is other formal words/expressions that could fit here?
    – user76935
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 23:55
  • 'Bully' means something completely different, although someone who intentionally says false things may be a bully too.
    – Pete855217
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 6:46
  • Do you mean that this person uses "facts and/or false statements" or "false statements and/or false facts"? (There's no such thing as a false fact. A fact is true by definition.)
    – wilee
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 4:26
  • I would say "bully". It can't be rumor mongering or something of that ilk if the victim is the only one present to hear the perp's line of invective.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 13:14

5 Answers 5


'Calumny' is close, though it's a legal term, and it refers to making statements wreck someone's reputation (which can't be done if it's done in private.) 'Slander' is probably better. 'Libel' is no good, as it happens in a publication.


You can use rumormonger, rumor-monger, or rumor monger to describe such a person, with the assumption that rumors usually are false, or at least unverified.

a person given to spreading rumors, often maliciously.

rumor: a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts

If you want a more negative connotation, you can use slanderer.

slander: a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name. Related forms: slan·der·er, noun

  • How can it be rumor mongering if (as stated) the victim is sometimes the only one within earshot?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 13:14

If someone made false statements in a court of law to gets someone an unfair result, such as a wrongful conviction, that person would be a perjurer.

That might even be true outside of a court of law.

  • 'Perjurer' just means someone who lies under oath. You can be a perjurer lying about yourself, nothing necessarily to do with other people.
    – Pete855217
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 6:47
  • @Pete855217: Statements aren't made in a court of law (other than by the judge or the lawyers) except under oath. So everyone that lies in a court of law is a perjurer (that all perjurers are liars). I did not assert the converse (all liars are perjurers).
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 14:21

Transduce: verb (with object) "speak badly of or tell lies about (someone) so as to damage their reputation - quoted from the Oxford English (UK) dictionary

  • Welcome to EL&U. Are you sure about the meaning of the verb transduce? Please take the tour and visit our help center for additional guidance.
    – user140086
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 12:24
  • I can't find that definition anywhere, including the online Oxford dictionary. The etymology of the word is listed in both Oxford and Online Etymology as being a back-formation from transducer, a science/engineering concept.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 13:21
  • *TRADUCE (no NS) Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 19:26

Consider, badmouth [someone]

To criticize or disparage, often spitefully or unfairly: those cross-Atlantic aficionados who persistently idolize the British theater and bad-mouth Broadway (Benedict Nightingale). American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.