whis·​per | \ ˈhwi-spər How to pronounce whisper (audio) , ˈwi-\
whispered; whispering\ ˈhwi-​sp(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce whispering (audio) , ˈwi-​ \

Definition of whisper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to speak softly with little or no vibration of the vocal cords especially to avoid being overheard
2 : to make a sibilant sound that resembles whispering

transitive verb

1 : to address in a whisper
2 : to utter or communicate in or as if in a whisper



Definition of whisper (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something communicated by or as if by whispering especially : rumor whispers of scandal
2a : an act or instance of whispering especially : speech without vibration of the vocal cords
b : a sibilant sound that resembles whispered speech
3 : hint, trace

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Synonyms for whisper

Synonyms: Verb

bruit (about), circulate, noise (about or abroad), rumor

Synonyms: Noun

canard, story, tale

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Examples of whisper in a Sentence


He whispered in my ear. She leaned over and whispered to the girl next to her. I couldn't hear what they were saying because they were whispering. She leaned over and whispered something to the girl next to her. “I'll be right back,” she whispered. A soft breeze whispered through the trees.


She spoke in a whisper. the whisper of the wind I've heard whispers that the company might go out of business.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Now, the much-whispered-about Tempt Me Women One Piece Swimsuit is a No. 1 best-seller. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "People Are Obsessed With This $27 Swimsuit on Amazon—and Now It's a Best-Seller," 29 May 2019 This complication is frequently whispered about among moms but somehow is rarely acknowledged in pregnancy guidebooks. Kate Wehr, Good Housekeeping, "Gallstones Are the Pregnancy Complication No One Warned Me About," 18 Apr. 2019 The whole day was incredibly special, and Prince Harry's little whispered moment makes it even sweeter. Glamour, "The Secret Message Prince Harry Whispered to Meghan Markle Before Baby Sussex's Photo Call," 8 May 2019 Yet a strong, individual fashion message can powerfully come across even if it isn’t screamed, but just whispered. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Our Very Favorite Moments From the Fall 2019 Collections," 12 Mar. 2019 Yet activists, diplomats and locals whisper that the president and his top officials are increasingly paranoid about a coup—something the country has experienced more often than democratic elections. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "‘A Nest of Spies’: Niger’s Deserts Become Front Line of Fight Against Jihadism," 17 Sep. 2018 Shivering, the would-be hunters occasionally whispered to each other in the darkening forest. Zusha Elinson, WSJ, "Put Down the Kombucha and Pick Up a Crossbow: Hipsters Are the New Hunters," 9 Jan. 2019 But for most of the past eighteen months, ever since Kevin Durant signed in Golden State, it's only been whispered. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "What If LeBron Never Wins Another NBA Title?," 16 May 2018 The possibility has been whispered throughout the offseason after Tagovailoa's iconic post-halftime cleanup in the national title game. Michael Casagrande, AL.com, "Jalen Hurts could transfer if he loses QB job, father says in interview," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Both whispers and yells of excitement filled the air, making South Milwaukee’s downtown feel like one of the arenas where the Crusher would perform. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bronze Crusher statue revealed at South Milwaukee's Crusherfest; daughter says it's 'the best possible image' of him," 8 June 2019 Not for a team that has listened to the whispers and rumbles for months now about how the days of their dynasty might be ending and heard since Friday how brilliant and devastating France looked in its World Cup opener. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: US women did what was necessary in 13-0 blowout of Thailand," 31 May 2019 At the funeral scene, for instance, Connolly makes an homage to The Godfather — a priest speaks at the graveside while men in dark suits nod and whisper and secretly plot to kill a rival boss. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Gotti': John Travolta's new one will remind you of other, better mob movies," 14 June 2018 Toi GB took the microphone, started to sing in a familiar growled whisper, and the room erupted in cheers. Jenn Harris, latimes.com, "Viva Thai Elvis: One of dozens could be performing at your local restaurant," 25 May 2018 Not much has come of H-1B reforms, apart from whispers and speculation about the administration cracking down. Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times, "With work permits in limbo, spouses of H-1B visa holders worry they’ll lose jobs," 16 Feb. 2018 And there are so many different kinds to admire, from whisper-pale pinks, lavenders, and sky blues to deep, vibrant fuchsias and intense, purpley blues. Michele Petry, House Beautiful, "You Can Change the Color of Your Hydrangeas with This Simple Trick," 18 Apr. 2019 Some blondes flirt dangerously close to dynamic brunette; others are a mere whisper from auburn. Allure, "The Best Blonde Hair Color Ideas for Every Skin Tone," 25 Mar. 2019 What's not to love about a show that has whispers of all that is mostly evil, a hot dad (who lives in Brooklyn with those kids), and a severely underrated angel named Dorota? 2. Seventeen, "The 20 Greatest TV Teen Dramas of All Time," 4 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whisper.' 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 whisper


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


1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for whisper


Middle English, from Old English hwisperian; akin to Old High German hwispalōn to whisper, Old Norse hvīsla — more at whistle

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Statistics for whisper

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whisper

The first known use of whisper was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for whisper



English Language Learners Definition of whisper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to speak very softly or quietly
: to produce a quiet sound



English Language Learners Definition of whisper (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very soft and quiet way of speaking
: a soft and quiet sound
: a very small amount of something


whis·​per | \ ˈhwi-spər How to pronounce whisper (audio) , ˈwi-\
whispered; whispering

Kids Definition of whisper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to speak softly and quietly
2 : to tell by speaking softly and quietly “I would miss you, Nick,” I whispered. “I would.”— Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah, Plain and Tall
3 : to make a low rustling sound The wind whispered in the trees.



Kids Definition of whisper (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a soft quiet way of speaking that can be heard only by people who are near
2 : the act of speaking softly and quietly
3 : something said softly and quietly
4 : hint entry 1 sense 2 a whisper of smoke

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Comments on whisper

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


behavior toward others

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