speak/think ill of somebody

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speak ill of (someone or something)

To say malicious, objectionable, or defamatory things about someone or something. I've just always had the philosophy that it does no good to speak ill of anyone, so instead I direct that energy toward finding solutions to problems. Anyone who speaks ill of the government in this country runs the risk of being thrown in prison, or worse. You say we shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but we should never forget the misdeeds of those who were once in power, lest history repeats itself.
See also: ill, of, speak

think ill of (someone or something)

To have a poor or disdainful opinion about someone; to hold someone or something in low regard or esteem. I hope they don't think ill of me for leaving my job so suddenly. I could tell the board thought ill of my proposal.
See also: ill, of, think

speak ill of someone

to say something bad about someone. I refuse to speak ill of any of my friends. Max speaks ill of no one and refuses to repeat gossip.
See also: ill, of, speak

speak/think ˈill of somebody

(formal) say or think bad things about somebody: You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.
See also: ill, of, somebody, speak, think
References in classic literature ?
Do clear THEM too, or we shall be obliged to think ill of somebody?"