hear·​say | \ˈhir-ˌsā \

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

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 At the time, Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Jackson’s testimony would be hearsay. Washington Post, "Bill Cosby’s accuser denies framing him, knowing key witness," 16 Apr. 2018 Durst's defense team, who didn't reply to messages seeking comment, has fought or is expected to challenge every bit of evidence that implicates him, including Berman's numerous hearsay statements to friends. NBC News, "Robert Durst trial: Judge to hear evidence in eccentric heir's murder case," 16 Apr. 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

19 Nov 2018

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 \

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 \

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

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