whis·​per | \ˈhwi-spər, ˈwi-\
whispered; whispering\ ˈhwi-​sp(ə-​)riŋ , 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

Comedians are emotional con artists, Gadsby suggests, whispering into the microphone as if bringing the audience into a conspiracy. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Nanette Rewrites the History of Art," 3 July 2018 By this time, Isabelle has called the police and is whispering into the phone. Anneclaire Stapleton, CNN, "A mother's powerful letter about her child's experience hiding from the Santa Fe shooter," 19 May 2018 Tight end Julius Thomas whispered through a 388-yard, three-touchdown season, and he has been replaced in the lineup by second-rounder Mike Gesicki, a combination of round and position that has yet to produce even a 700-yard rookie season once. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde5: More, uh, motivation as Dolphins RBs, WRs, rated 31st," 12 July 2018 Van Ness said Isabelle then called police, whispering to them what is happening, and a dispatcher responds that help is on the way. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "Mother of Texas school shooting survivor says gunman killed students as they hid in closet," 19 May 2018 When Drake won an award for best hip-hop video, the crowd erupted with praise but Rihanna remained unbothered and instead whispered something to her best friend Melissa that many believed was an insult to Drake. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "A Timeline of Rihanna & Drake's Complicated Relationship," 3 May 2018 Sensing that pressure, Gonzales got up from her seat and began whispering to other tribe members in a last ditch attempt at safety. Demetrio Teniente, Houston Chronicle, "Twitter reacts to Survivor's twist-filled season premiere," 28 Feb. 2018 His mother held him close and whispered in his ear. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "'I Love Things That Are Absurd.' Meet the Man Who Turned Nathan's Hot Dog-Eating Contest Into a National Obsession," 3 July 2018 Men brushed by Marfil Estrella or approached her and whispered things in her ear. Alice Driver, Longreads, "The Road to Asylum," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are whispers of witchcraft in the company, where dancers die in gruesome and hallucinatory ways. Don Steinberg, WSJ, "Why Director Luca Guadagnino Chose the Path of Horror," 27 Oct. 2018 The fanfare accompanying this latest hundreds-pages-long document was virtually nonexistent, a whisper compared with the May 7, 2015, announcement on the Sodo version. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "4 years, 2 environmental impact statements: Why KeyArena is getting built and Sodo isn’t," 3 Sep. 2018 There’d be whispers about a person, a politician, a company, an issue. Recode Staff, Recode, "How bots amplify hoaxes and propaganda on social media," 2 Aug. 2018 But a 5-2 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday was the final whisper on a 2-5 road trip in which the Padres offense did very little. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Rangers rock resilient Richard, punchless Padres," 27 June 2018 Shared values' On the windblown cliffs of western Scotland, there are whispers that Trump could also squeeze in a round of golf during his brief trip. NBC News, "Trump's visit to Britain faces mass protest marches — and a giant baby blimp," 24 June 2018 And there were whispers that Depp’s recreational drug and alcohol use were crippling him. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "Johnny Depp: We Are Concerned," 23 June 2018 And there have been whispers that a lack of investment in Nina Ricci has contributed to a fast turnover of designers: The house has had seven people in its top position in the 20 years since it was purchased by Puig in 1998. New York Times, "Dries Van Noten Sells Majority Stake to Puig," 14 June 2018 There has been no whisper of extension talks yet, but that’s not that unusual for a coach with two seasons left on his deal. K.c. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Bulls Q&A: What value does the No. 22 pick hold? Can Lauri Markkanen be best player on title team?," 25 Apr. 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

15 Nov 2018

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, 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).


a private place of worship

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