poison pen

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poison pen

1. adjective (hyphenated and used before a noun) Spiteful, malicious, or defamatory in composition, as of a letter or other written work, generally sent anonymously and with the aim of damaging or destroying a person's, group's, or organization's reputation or happiness. After agreeing to defend the alleged mass-murderer, the public defendant began receiving a large number of poison-pen letters from around the city. We've had enough trouble getting this restaurant up and running without having a poison-pen review like that in the papers!
2. adjective (hyphenated and used before a noun) Characterized by, typified by, or inclined toward the writing and sending of such letters or pieces of writing. The outspoken feminist figure has been the target of a hateful poison-pen campaign by online misogynists who have hidden behind the shield of anonymity to conduct their attacks.
3. noun A disposition, attitude, inclination, or ability typified by the writing and sending such letters or pieces of writing. Every year or so, there is a new piece of diatribe and vitriol from the poison pen of the infamous white supremacist. The poison pen of the oft-feared but well-respected critic has been enough to cause the downfall of more than one virtuoso's career.
See also: pen, poison
References in periodicals archive ?
They pretended to confide in him about the mysterious poison-pen letter writer and created a fictitious stepbrother and stepson.
A rather subdued Hayley was shocked to find a poison-pen letter through her door telling her that as a Brummie she should leave Ambridge and go back to Birmingham.
Cognizant that bad press and poison-pen letters to the editor grabs the attention of the Bay Street financiers, the city intends to have a public relations strategy in place to ensure that local success stories and updates on ongoing city initiatives are heard.
Franziska Muller, a member of the Kunsthaus's exhibition committee, wrote a poison-pen letter about the search, then sent it to local collectors, cultural types, and journalists.
Hershiser said he got 10-to-15 poison-pen letters a month early in the season, as he staggered from the gate with a record of 0-3.
We avoid her but I've had a couple of poison-pen letters criticising me for neglecting my "wonderful" mum.
A NIGHTMARE neighbour who sent poison-pen letters and threw petrol bombs at houses was jailed for eight years yesterday.
Families were driven from their homes, and innocent men became the target for poison-pen letters when they were mistaken for known sex offenders.
Dr Stephen Wedderburn, 48, complained of getting poison-pen letters.
A SILVER-haired pensioner preyed on village neighbours with a 12-year campaign of poison-pen mail and vandalism a court heard yesterday.
YORKSHIRE have leapt to the defence of Darren Gough after the England hero received a poison-pen letter accusing him of putting country before club.
Ashia was sent a poison-pen warning yesterday - the day after the attack - world record triple jumper.