whis·​per | \ ˈ(h)wi-spər How to pronounce whisper (audio) \
whispered; whispering\ ˈ(h)wi-​sp(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce whispering (audio) \

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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Examples of whisper in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun 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 The first movement came off as a highly sophisticated conversation, sometimes whispered, with occasional emphatic proclamations. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "The finest chamber music concert in memory, from the Doric String Quartet in Dallas performance," 11 Feb. 2020 Analyzing the amphibian's voice and dance moves, the woman to my left whispers her guess in my ear. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Going to a 'Masked Singer' Taping Is Like Visiting a Top-Secret CIA Compound," 6 Feb. 2020 Read more Pete Buttigieg Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Unlikely, Untested, Unprecedented Presidential Campaign As Pete Buttigieg addressed supporters off a back porch in Marshalltown, Iowa, the Devil was whispering his name. Time, "Decision Time: Our Interviews with the Presidential Candidates," 31 Jan. 2020 Also helpful: the reinvigorated women’s movement (whispers: Thank you, Donald Trump). Amelia Harnish, refinery29.com, "The Equal Rights Amendment: It's Not Over 'Til It's Over," 15 Jan. 2020 Witherspoon whispered Aniston's line in her ear, and, consequently, the two were ready to slip into their old Friends characters once more. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon Recreate Their Iconic Scene in Friends," 18 Oct. 2019 The rumor whispers involving the Reds have been nearly inaudible, and the Club has shown no urgency to deal. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: The Harrelson curse? Come on now, Cincinnati Bengals fans. Really?," 24 July 2019 That student told police Hatch had whispered such comments in her ear on more than one occasion. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana high school diving coach accused of inappropriately grabbing student athlete," 9 Jan. 2020 Orange Is the New Black,’ ’’ one detainee whispered. Barbara Demick, The New Yorker, "Jane Fonda’s Climate-Change Star Power," 27 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But city buses, with their engines out back, are whisper-quiet by comparison, as all the noise goes back toward drivers in cars behind the bus. Dan Carney, Popular Science, "The Corvette is finally the supercar it deserves to be," 2 Jan. 2020 The whispers of a budding basketball star along the Front Range turned to shouts as ESPN. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Lauren Betts is 6-foot-7, 16 years old, and hasn’t even touched the ceiling yet," 8 Dec. 2019 By Saturday morning the spotting turned to bleeding and the whisper of cramps felt more like shouts. Rachel Wells, Glamour, "What to Expect During a Miscarriage," 28 Oct. 2019 Knowing that even the slightest whisper or footstep can bring death, a couple protect their children while desperately searching for a way to fight back. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV for Oct. 6-12: ‘Throne of Blood’ and more," 4 Oct. 2019 These incredibly buttery blush and highlighter duos blend like a dream and leave the prettiest whisper of color that lasts all day. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Cream Blushes of All Time," 15 Sep. 2019 There were some last-minute meetings to attempt to bridge the divide and even some whispers that Amazon had capitulated and agreed to remain neutral in employee union campaigns. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Behind Amazon’s HQ2 fiasco, Jeff Bezos wanted incentives like Elon Musk’s," 3 Feb. 2020 In The Handmaid’s Tale, there are whispers about odd weather, pollution, and the need to cut carbon emissions. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Climate Change Is Netflix's Ragnarok," 31 Jan. 2020 Moira Donegan creates an anonymous list that codified whisper networks that have long existed. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Creator of the Shitty Media Men List Is Being Sued—and You Can Help Fund Her Legal Fees," 12 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for whisper

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for whisper

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whisper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whisper. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for whisper


How to pronounce whisper (audio)

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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