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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for whisper

Synonyms: Verb

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

Synonyms: Noun

canard, story, tale

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Williams whispered that the dog’s real name is Fenway because of his owner’s Boston roots. Tod Leonard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Tragedy, unexpected success have made Vegas Golden Knights a sports phenomenon," 15 Apr. 2018 Sittenfeld likes Black, and they were seen whispering in each others' ears on the dais immediately after Wednesday's Council meeting. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: Who's the most power-hungry person at City Hall? That's what fight is all about," 14 Mar. 2018 Last month, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed something that observers had been whispering about the entire first two months of the 2018 season: There were suddenly a lot fewer people going to Major League Baseball games. Will Leitch, Daily Intelligencer, "Nobody’s Going to Sports in Person Anymore. And No One Seems to Care.," 11 July 2018 People have been whispering among themselves about Spanish-speaking immigrants, Muslims mosques and black people moving into their neighborhoods since time immemorial. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Donald Trump is Not Making White People More Racist, He's Making Them Act More Racist," 5 July 2018 But that air of confidence all great strikers have must have been whispering in Owen’s ear. SI.com, "Remembering Liverpool Legend Michael Owen’s Magnifique 1998 World Cup Summer in France," 2 June 2018 Apparently, the source said, Lillard's agent Aaron Goodwin is whispering as much. John Canzano, OregonLive.com, "Canzano: Damian Lillard gets First Team All-NBA nod... and another meeting with Paul Allen?," 24 May 2018 Now Dom has started the tribal-whispering to Wendell, making others feel out of the loop. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Who was voted off 'Survivor' this week? (May 2) Did Mason's Angela Perkins advance?," 2 May 2018 The two were sitting side-by-side and whispering to each other during a joint appearance for the NFL Draft Legacy Project at Workman Junior High. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Buddies again? Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell put on good public face | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 25 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After a long day of whisper campaigning, Debbie and Bash wait for phone calls while drinking at a bar. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: Glow Season 2, Episodes 1-10," 29 June 2018 But at Sunday night’s awards fest, there were whispers backstage that BET is considering moving elsewhere. Anita Bennett, Fortune, "BET Awards Mulling Move From Los Angeles, Insiders Say (Exclusive)," 27 June 2018 Silly season whispers are beginning to make their way around the paddock. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "NBCSN IndyCar analyst Paul Tracy predicts how rest of season will unfold," 20 June 2018 But as a new MLB panel prepares to rehear the case, there have been whispers around town about the possibility of the Orioles leaving Baltimore one day. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: Some are whispering about Orioles' future in Baltimore, but would they ever leave?," 23 June 2018 There have been tiny whispers floating in and around the Cardinals’ organization that maybe, just maybe, Larry Fitzgerald might be considering sticking around a little while longer and perhaps playing a year or two beyond this upcoming season. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald may consider playing beyond 2018 season," 13 June 2018 Woods begins talking soothingly to the hawk, almost in a whisper. Lauren Larson, GQ, "Zach Woods in the Woods," 31 May 2018 Flanked by marshals and their lawyer, each appeared stunned and answered the judge in a whisper. Josh Kovner, courant.com, "Official: 6-Week-Old Hartford Girl Dies At Hospital Monday, Parents Held In Infant Abuse Case," 28 May 2018 During the trial, Ortega sits at a table with her two lawyers and an interpreter who translates English to Spanish for her, in a whisper. Maureen O'connor, The Cut, "Video Shows Nanny in Murder Trial Denying Hallucinations," 12 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whisper

Phrases Related to whisper

Chinese whispers

Statistics for whisper

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whisper

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!