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A concentrated and prolonged effort to damage or ruin someone's or some group's reputation through the perpetuation of rumors, innuendos, and/or falsities, generally as a means of persuading a large number of people against him, her, or them. Primarily heard in US. The local sheriff's slim lead heading into the election quickly evaporated after he found himself at the wrong end of a vicious rumor campaign. I think we need to start a rumor campaign to slow down the competitor's growth in the market, but no one can know that it's coming from us!
A concentrated and prolonged effort to damage or ruin someone's or some group's reputation through the perpetuation of rumours, innuendos, and/or falsities, generally as a means of persuading a large amount of people against him, her, or them. Primarily heard in UK. Finding himself at the wrong end of a vicious rumour campaign, the local MP's slim lead heading into the election quickly evaporated. I think we need to start a rumour campaign to slow down the competitor's growth in the market, but no one can know that it's coming from us!
The spread of rumors, with the intent of damaging a person's reputation The whispering campaign that the opposition has launched against me is just awful! I haven't done any of the things they've claimed! I'm always skeptical of the terrible allegations that come out in these whispering campaigns.
campaign against someone or something
1. to crusade or battle against someone or something. Currently, I am campaigning against littering. Sarah is campaigning against crooked politicians.
2. to run one's political campaign against someone or something. I campaigned against the incumbent and won. John spent a lot of time campaigning against Sarah for class president.
See also: campaign
campaign for someone or something
to support actively someone or someone's candidacy for political office. I would be very happy to campaign for you. I want to campaign for the winning candidate.
See also: campaign
smear campaign (against someone)
a campaign aimed at damaging someone's reputation by making accusations and spreading rumors. The politician's opponents are engaging in a smear campaign against him. Jack started a smear campaign against Tom so that Tom wouldn't get the manager's job.
An attempt to ruin a reputation by slander or vilification, as in This press agent is well known for starting smear campaigns against her clients' major competitors . This phrase was first recorded in 1938 and uses smear in the sense of "an attempt to discredit" or "slander."
A deliberate spreading of derogatory rumors about a candidate, as in That whispering campaign destroyed his chances for election. [c. 1920]