gossip

1 of 2

noun

gos·​sip ˈgä-səp How to pronounce gossip (audio)
1
a
dialectal British : godparent
c
: a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others
the worst gossip in town
2
a
: rumor or report of an intimate nature
spreading gossip about their divorce
b
: a chatty talk
c
: the subject matter of gossip
Their breakup was common gossip.
gossipry noun

gossip

2 of 2

verb

gossiped; gossiping; gossips

intransitive verb

: to relate gossip (see gossip entry 1 sense 2a)
gossiper noun

Did you know?

Merriam-Webster here, your one and only source for the juicy history of the English lexicon (including gossip, girl). It’s no secret that gossiping often involves discussing the intimate details of other people’s lives, but did you know that the origins of gossip are a bit more chummy, and even a tad divine? Word on the street is that the Old English word sibb, meaning “relative” or “kinsman,” long ago combined with the word god (meaning, well, “god”) to form godsibb, which referred to a person who was spiritually related to another, specifically by being a baptismal sponsor. Today we call such a person a godparent. Over the centuries, godsibb changed both in form and in meaning. In Middle English, gossib came to be used for a close friend or chum as well as for a godparent. From there it was only a short step to gossip, a word for anyone—not just a friend, relative, or sponsor—known for spilling the tea. By the early 17th century, gossip had expanded into the verb use that has been the talk of the town ever since.

Did you know?

Old English sibb, meaning “relative” or “kinsman,” came from the adjective sibb, “related by blood” (the ancestor of modern English sibling). Old English godsibb was a person spiritually related to another, specifically by being a sponsor at baptism. Today we call such a person a godparent. Over the centuries, godsibb changed both in form and in meaning. Middle English gossib came to be used for a close friend or crony as well as for a godparent. From there it was only a short step to the gossip of today, a person no longer necessarily friend, relative, or sponsor, but someone filled with irresistible tidbits of rumor.

Examples of gossip in a Sentence

Noun He had been spreading gossip about his coworkers. the latest news and gossip from the entertainment industry She writes a gossip column in the paper. I like having a good gossip now and then. Verb They spent the afternoon gossiping on the phone. They often gossip with each other about their neighbors.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
John has fun revisiting his humble beginnings, recalling his ‘70s heyday, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Shannon Carlin, TIME, 15 July 2024 Send your questions, comments and gossip to LAontheRecord@latimes.com. Rebecca Ellis, Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2024
Verb
Groups of teenagers ambling along, gossiping, stopping to browse T-shirt shops and try on $9.99 sundresses. Tim Ebner, Washington Post, 10 July 2024 Everyone talked at once, drank prosecco, gossiped about friends' liaisons, and argued about where to go for dinner. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for gossip 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gossip.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English gossib, from Old English godsibb, from god god + sibb kinsman, from sibb related — more at sib

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1627, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gossip was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near gossip

Cite this Entry

“Gossip.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gossip. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

gossip

noun
gos·​sip
ˈgäs-əp
1
: a person who reveals personal or sensational facts
2
a
: rumor or report of a personal nature
b
: chatty talk
gossip verb
gossiper noun
gossipy
-ə-pē
adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on gossip

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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