The purpose of this article is to trace the development of the rules of defamation with particular reference to extrinsic fact. A defamatory communication is one that tends to diminish the esteem, respect, good will, or confidence in which a person is held or to excite adverse, derogatory, or unpleasant feelings or opinions against him. To be actionable under the modem law, however, the defendant's statement must be capable of a defamatory meaning in the sense normally understood.
Defamation consists of the separate torts of libel and slander. Historically, these torts evolved independently of each other, and as a result different rules have attached to each. Despite differences in origin, however, reference to extrinsic facts may be required to establish the defamatory nature of the statement for actions in either tort.
Richard C. Ausness, Libel Per Quod in Florida, 23 U. Fla. L. Rev. 51 (1970).