Lebel means a defamatory writing

A libel may be defined to be a false and malicious defamation expressed in print, writing or by signs, tending to injure the reputation of another and exposing him to public hatred, contempt or ridicule. It is not however, the mere writing of libelous matter which is actionable, but they must be a publication of the libel in order to entitle the party aggrieved by it to a civil remedy. The libelous matter must moreover be falsely and maliciously published; its trust may be specially pleaded in answer to the action. Where the natural tendency and import of the language used in any publication is to defame and injure another, the law will then presume that the publisher acted maliciously. Defamation pure and simply afford presumptive evidence of malice.

Libel is a false, defamatory and malicious writing, picture, or the like tending to injure the reputation of another, Slander is a false, defamatory and malicious verbal statement tending to injure the reputation of an other. A libel is of itself an infringement of a right, and no actual damage need be proved in order to sustain an action. Slander on the other hand, is not of itself an infringement of a right, unless damage ensues, either actually or presumptively. In libel the matter must be false and defamatory and must be maliciously published. In slander there is one ingredient more viz, damage. Underhill on Torts.
Where the statement is expressed in words only it is oral slander but may not always be actionable, unless followed by actual damages.  Collect on torts.

Damage are not recoverable for mental distress alone caused to the plaintiff by slanderous words conveying insult.

Still some words are actionable without proof of damage, if maliciously spoken and false and defamatory. Thus falsely to impute to any one that he has been guilty of any criminal offence, or that he is afflicted with any loathsome or contagious disease, as leprosy, etc., which would cause him to be shunned, or to speak falsely of a tradesman that he uses false wights, or to impute misconduct or gross ignorance or incapacity to professional men in the discharge of their professional duty, eg., to say of a medical man that he has misconduct himself with his female patients, or of a clergyman that he leads an immoral life. Such imputations, if the party is still in the exercise and practice of his trade or profession at the time, are actionable without proof of damage.  All other slander, unless followed by actual damage, the legal and natural consequence of it, is not actionable.

The matter must be false. To be actionable, the words, whether written or spoken must be false. Truth is an answer to the action, not because it negatives the charge of malice (for a person may, wrongfully and maliciously, utter slanderous matter though true, and thereby subject himself to an indictment) but because it shows that he is not entitled to recover damages in respect of an injury to character which he either does not, or ought not to possess.  It is enough if the statement, though not perfectly accurate, is substantially true.

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