German law has three distinct terms in the context of insulting a person:
- § 185, Beleidigung -- Insulting a person. This covers e.g. flipping somebody off in traffic, calling somebody names etc.
- § 186, Üble Nachrede -- Making unproven claims that decry somebody, damaging his reputation. (Rumor-mongering?)
- § 187, Verleumdung -- Making false claims that decry somebody, damaging his reputation.
The first is "insult", that much is clear.
For the other two, I found that English distinguishes between spoken defamation (slander) and written (or otherwise published) defamation (libel), but apparently does not distinguish between "unproven" and "proven false" slander / libel, which makes it very difficult to talk about this nuance of German law.
Are there English words that would distinguish between "üble Nachrede" (saying bad things about somebody that you can't prove) and "Verleumdung" (saying bad things about somebody that you know aren't true)?