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

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 But Antoine's attorney (Emilie Incerti-Formentini) smoothly counters that the talk of violence is just hearsay, not backed up by evidence or witnesses. Kenneth Turan, latimes.com, "Review: Searing French drama 'Custody' is an unforgettable experience," 10 July 2018 That's not even admissible, hearsay, in a courtroom, nevermind four-way. Fox News, "Reps. Jordan, Gaetz on demand for second special counsel," 23 May 2018 Lee’s employees are being harassed and treated badly over some hearsay. Alison Montoya, Cincinnati.com, "Why protesters lined up outside Lee's Famous Chicken," 25 June 2018 Support staff— receptionists, schedulers, community health educators, even a hospital data analyst—stayed for a crash course in birth control to stamp out hearsay with medically accurate information. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "The IUD Vs. The World," 28 June 2018 That kind of hearsay is, in part, what has allowed the casting couch to be used as a defense for Weinstein. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Can Hollywood Kill the Casting Couch?," 13 June 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

9 Apr 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).


using a distributed computer network

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