hear·​say | \ ˈhir-ˌsā How to pronounce hearsay (audio) \

Definition of hearsay

1 : rumor like the hearsays bandied about by the medievalists— S. N. Behrman

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Examples of hearsay in a Sentence

You can't judge them solely on the basis of hearsay. They're supposedly getting married soon, but that's just hearsay.

Recent Examples on the Web

Happy Birthday: Trust in facts, not in hearsay or persuasive individuals trying to manipulate you. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: Aug. 2, 2019," 2 Aug. 2019 Hard work and positive interactions can undo an initial negative impression, particularly one partially created through hearsay. Anchorage Daily News, "Be careful of hidden agendas when catty co-workers ‘befriend’ you," 18 June 2019 Public defenders Morgen Oswood and Angela Brant questioned Serrano and the detective’s credibility, saying the prosecution was relying on hearsay to show that Gallegos was even present at the shooting and that a robbery occurred. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Teen accused of robbing, killing Cherokee Trail High School rugby player in illegal vape sale to face trial," 17 July 2019 Last September, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously found the hearsay testimony did not violate his constitutional rights. William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "Drew Peterson asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear appeal of murder conviction of 3rd wife," 18 June 2018 The justice ministry, which acts as the defendant, argues that the claim is based on hearsay and that the country has no case to answer. The Economist, "South Korea’s left-wing president loses his zeal to humble big business," 22 June 2019 Of course, this is all hearsay, but compare it with what Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) said last year about how Game of Thrones ends for her character. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "This New Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams Interview Adds Fuel to a Big Game of Thrones Theory," 26 Mar. 2019 But, of course, keep in mind that this is all just hearsay ... for now. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Everything to Know About the 'Dancing with the Stars Juniors' Cast and Judges," 2 Aug. 2018 But before the hearsay got totally out of control, Carole recently hopped on Twitter to set the record straight. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'RHONY' Star Carole Radziwill Finally Addresses Those 'View' Rumors," 20 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hearsay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hearsay

circa 1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for hearsay

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hearsay

The first known use of hearsay was circa 1532

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More Definitions for hearsay



English Language Learners Definition of hearsay

: something heard from another person : something that you have been told


hear·​say | \ ˈhir-ˌsā How to pronounce hearsay (audio) \

Kids Definition of hearsay

: something heard from another : rumor “Is there any clear proof of this … or is it mere hearsay?”— Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill


hear·​say | \ ˈhir-ˌsā How to pronounce hearsay (audio) \

Legal Definition of hearsay

: a statement made out of court and not under oath which is offered as proof that what is stated is true

called also hearsay evidence

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Comments on hearsay

What made you want to look up hearsay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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