gossip - Wiktionary
See also: Gossip
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From Middle English godsybbe, godsib (“a close friend or relation, a confidant”), from Old Englishgodsibb (“godparent, sponsor”), equivalent to god +‎ sib.
gossip (countable and uncountable, pluralgossips)
  1. (countable) Someone who likes to talk about other people's private or personal business.
    Synonyms: busybody, gossipmonger, meddler, rumormonger; see also​Thesaurus:​gossiper
    Be careful what you say to him: he’s a bit of a gossip.
    • 1752, Arthur Murphy, The Gray’s Inn Journal, Volume 1, No. 11, p. 73,[1]
      A losing Gamester, who is obliged to drive into the City to dispose of a little South Sea Stock, gives the Hint there. The Gossips at Garraway’s have it in a Moment: At One it is buzz’d on Change, and the circulating Whisper in the Boxes interrupts the Play at Night.
    • 1846, Herman Melville, Typee, “Sequel Containing the Story of Toby,”[2]
      He was an arrant old gossip, too; for ever coming off in his canoe to the ships in the bay, and regaling their crews with choice little morsels of court scandal […]
    • 1952, John Steinbeck, East of Eden, London: Heinemann, Chapter 48, p. 456,[3]
      Alf could tell you about everybody on both sides of Main Street. He was a vicious male gossip, insatiably curious and vindictive without malice.
  2. (uncountable) Idle talk about someone’s private or personal matters, especially someone not present.
    Synonyms: dirt, hearsay, rumor, scandal, scuttlebutt; see also Thesaurus:rumor
    According to the latest gossip, their relationship is on the rocks.
    I have a juicy piece of gossip to share with you.
    • 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Chapter 18,[4]
      […] the thing is certainly true. It is not a mere bit of gossip. We have it from Frederick himself.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter II, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      I ought to arise and go forth with timbrels and with dances; but, do you know, I am not inclined to revels? There has been a little—just a very little bit too much festivity so far …. Not that I don’t adore dinners and gossip and dances; not that I do not love to pervade bright and glittering places. […]
    • 1980, J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians, Penguin, 1982, Chapter 2, p. 32,[5]
      The smaller a town the more richly it hums with gossip. There are no private affairs here. Gossip is the air we breathe.
    • 2018, Anna Burns, Milkman, London: Faber & Faber, Chapter 1,[6]
      Intense nosiness about everybody had always existed in the area. Gossip washed in, washed out, came, went, moved on to the next target.
  3. (uncountable) Idle conversation in general.
    1868, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, Chapter 38,[7]
    The parlor was always bright and attractive, the chessboard ready, the piano in tune, plenty of gay gossip, and a nice little supper set forth in tempting style.
  4. (uncountable) A genre in contemporary media, usually focused on the personal affairs of celebrities.
    1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
    Little disappointed, then, she turned attention to "Chat of the Social World," gossip which exercised potent fascination upon the girl's intelligence. She devoured with more avidity than she had her food those pretentiously phrased chronicles of the snobocracy […] distilling therefrom an acid envy that robbed her napoleon of all its savour.
  5. (obsolete) A sponsor; a godfather or godmother; the godparent of one's child.
    Synonym: sponsor
    Hyponyms: godfather, godmother
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act III, Scene 1,[8]
      ’tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips [i.e. she could not be a virgin because she has children with godparents]
    • 1689, John Selden, Table-Talk, London: Jacob Tonson et al., 1696, “Prayer,” p. 134,[9]
      Should a great Lady, that was invited to be a Gossip, in her place send her Kitchen-Maid, ’twould be ill taken;
    • 1741, Samuel Richardson, Pamela, London: for the author, Volume 3, Letter 38, p. 400,[10]
      It seems, Miss, that if he stood not himself, or procur’d not Gossips for the Christening of the Children of his poorer Tenants, he always sent them a large rich Cake […]
  6. (obsolete) A familiar acquaintance.
    Synonym: friend
    c. 1612, William Shakespeare, Henry VIII, Act V, Scene 5,[11]
    My noble gossips, ye have been too prodigal:
    I thank ye heartily;
  7. (obsolete) Title used with the name of one's child's godparent or of a friend.
Derived terms
idle talk
gossip (third-person singular simple presentgossips, present participle gossiping orgossipping, simple past and past participlegossiped or gossipped)
  1. (intransitive) To talk about someone else's private or personal business, especially in a manner that spreads the information.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Volume 1, Book 2, Chapter 4, p. 66,[14]
      This Place then is no other than the Chandler’s Shop; the known Seat of all the News; or, as it is vulgarly called, Gossiping, in every Parish in England.
    • 1959, Muriel Spark, Memento Mori, New York: Time-Life, 1964, Chapter 8, p. 109,[15]
      Godfrey felt guilty at having gossiped to Olive about Lettie’s changes in her will.
  2. (intransitive) To talk idly.
  3. (obsolete) To stand godfather to; to provide godparents for.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, Act I, Scene 1,[18]
      […] a world
      Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms [i.e. Christian names],
      That blinking Cupid gossips.
    • 1709, Richard Steele, The Tatler, No. 95 in The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, London, 1712, p. 282,[19]
      The Pleasure I used to take in telling my Boy Stories of the Battles, and asking my Girl Questions about the Disposal of her Baby, and the Gossiping of it, is turned into inward Reflection and Melancholy.
  4. (obsolete) To enjoy oneself during festivities, to make merry.
    c. 1596, William Shakespeare, King John, Act V, Scene 2,[20]
    […] those baby eyes
    That never saw the giant world enraged;
    Nor met with fortune other than at feasts,
    Full of warm blood, of mirth, of gossiping.
to talk about someone else's private or personal business
to talk idly
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
Catalan: (please verify)xafardejar (ca), (please verify) cotillejar
Michael Quinion (2004) , “Gossip”, in Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds: Ingenious Tales of Words and Their Origins, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with Penguin Books, →ISBN.
Borrowed from English gossip.
gossip m (invariable)
gossip (especially concerning famous or important people)
Synonym: pettegolezzo
Derived terms
Last edited on 21 July 2021, at 18:46
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