slander, n.

1. A defamatory assertion expressed in a transitory form, esp. speech. • Damages for slander — unlike those for libel — are not presumed and thus must be proved by the plaintiff (unless the defamation is slander per se). [Cases: Libel and Slander 1, 24. C.J.S. Libel and Slander; Injurious Falsehood§§ 2, 5–6, 10, 47.]

2. The act of making such a statement. See DEFAMATION. Cf. LIBEL. — slander, vb. — slanderous, adj.

“Although libel and slander are for the most part governed by the same principles, there are two important differences: (1) Libel is not merely an actionable tort, but also a criminal offence, whereas slander is a civil injury only. (2) Libel is in all cases actionable per se; but slander is, save in special cases, actionable only on proof of actual damage. This distinction has been severely criticised as productive of great injustice.” R.F.V. Heuston, Salmond on the Law of Torts 139 (17th ed. 1977).

slander per quod. Slander that does not qualify as slander per se, thus forcing the plaintiff to prove special damages. [Cases: Libel and Slander 11, 33. C.J.S. Libel and Slander; Injurious Falsehood § 198.]

slander per se. Slander for which special damages need not be proved because it imputes to the plaintiff any one of the following: (1) a crime involving moral turpitude, (2) a loathsome disease (such as a sexually transmitted disease), (3) conduct that would adversely affect one’s business or profession, or (4) unchastity (esp. of a woman). [Cases: Libel and Slander 33. C.J.S. Libel and Slander; Injurious Falsehood § 198.]

trade slander. Trade defamation that is spoken but not recorded. See trade defamation under DEFAMATION. Cf. trade libel under LIBEL.

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