2021 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 5 - Libel and Slander
§ 51-5-4. Slander Defined; When Special Damage Required; When Damage Inferred

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-5-4 (2021)
  1. Slander or oral defamation consists in:
    1. Imputing to another a crime punishable by law;
    2. Charging a person with having some contagious disorder or with being guilty of some debasing act which may exclude him from society;
    3. Making charges against another in reference to his trade, office, or profession, calculated to injure him therein; or
    4. Uttering any disparaging words productive of special damage which flows naturally therefrom.
  2. In the situation described in paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section, special damage is essential to support an action; in the situations described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section, damage is inferred.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 2919; Code 1868, § 2926; Code 1873, § 2977; Code 1882, § 2977; Civil Code 1895, § 3837; Civil Code 1910, § 4433; Code 1933, § 105-702.)

Cross references.

- Form to be used in action for words, § 9-10-204.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Defamation and Invasion of Privacy," see 27 Ga. St. B. J. 18 (1990). For annual survey article on tort law, see 50 Mercer L. Rev. 335 (1998). For survey article on law of torts, see 59 Mercer L. Rev. 397 (2007). For survey article on tort law, see 60 Mercer L. Rev. 375 (2008). For note, "The Great Escape: How One Plaintiff's Sidestep of a Mandatory Arbitration Clause Was Applied to a Class in Bickerstaff v. SunTrust Bank," see 68 Mercer L. Rev. 539 (2017). For comment on Braden v. Baugham, 74 Ga. App. 802, 41 S.E.2d 581 (1947), see 9 Ga. B. J. 456 (1947). For comment on Woolf v. Colonial Stores, Inc., 76 Ga. App. 565, 46 S.E.2d 620 (1948), see 11 Ga. B. J. 70 (1948). For comment discussing slander in reference to one's business or occupation, in light of Keefe v. O'Brien, 203 Misc. 113, 116 N.Y.S.2d 286 (S. Ct. 1952), holding that words accusing labor leader of communism insufficient to constitute slander per se as words did not concern person in his occupation, see 15 Ga. B. J. 357 (1953). For comment on American Broadcasting- Paramount Theatres, Inc. v. Simpson, 106 Ga. App. 230, 126 S.E.2d 873 (1962), see 25 Ga. B. J. 310 (1963). For comment on Hinkle v. Alexander, 244 Ore. 267, 417 P.2d 586 (1966), suggesting adoption by Georgia of a uniform rule on proof of damages in libel actions, see 18 Mercer L. Rev. 297 (1966).



  • General Consideration
  • Applicability to Specific Cases


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 50 Am. Jur. 2d, Libel and Slander, § 1 et seq.

16B Am. Jur. Pleading and Practice Forms, Libel and Slander, § 1.

Slander of Title, 7 POF2d 133.


- 53 C.J.S., Libel and Slander, §§ 1 et seq., 284 et seq.


- Statement with reference to discharge from private employment as actionable per se, 66 A.L.R. 1499.

Defamatory words spoken with regard to a customer's conduct as constituting actionable slander, 92 A.L.R. 1174.

Statute of limitation applicable to action for slander of title, 131 A.L.R. 837.

Joint liability for slander, 26 A.L.R.2d 1031.

Venue of action for slander, 70 A.L.R.2d 1340.

What amounts to special damage in action for slander of title, 4 A.L.R.4th 532.

Allowance of punitive damages in action for slander of title or disparagement of property, 7 A.L.R.4th 1219.

Imputation of criminal, abnormal, or otherwise offensive sexual attitude or behavior as defamation - post New York Times Cases, 57 A.L.R.4th 404.

Liability for statement or publication charging plaintiff with killing of, cruelty to, or inhumane treatment of animals, 69 A.L.R.5th 645.

Defamation of church member by church or church official, 109 A.L.R.5th 541.

Criticism or disparagement of physician's character, competence, or conduct as defamation, 16 A.L.R.6th 1.

Defamation by television - actual malice, 42 A.L.R.6th 353.

Statement Regarding Victim or Accuser of Rape or Other Sexual Misconduct as Defamation, 49 A.L.R.7th Art. 8.

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