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

Getty ImagesAFP The misogyny of the ballet world has been whispered about for decades; now, it's being shouted. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "A Ballet Dancer Claims Nude Photos Were Taken Without Her Consent. Now She’s Suing the New York City Ballet.," 6 Sep. 2018 Zainab Attar, 9, almost whispers to me about not wearing her hijab to her public school. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "In hijabs and Girl Scout vests, these Kansas Muslim girls make America great again | The Kansas City Star," 25 Apr. 2018 All the attention has restarted some wary West Wing whispers about Haley's ultimate goals. CBS News, "Nikki Haley's "I don't get confused" comment captures attention," 21 Apr. 2018 Rumors were also whispered about the death from heart disease of his young first wife, daughter of W.I. Terrill, owner of the American House Hotel. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland.com, "Medina County Historical Society features Fame, Fortune and Felony in program on prominent figures from Medina's past," 14 Apr. 2018 The same cannot be said for those whispering about her on the sidelines. Ian Bremmer, Time, "German Politics Is a Mess, and No One Is as Worried About It as They Should Be," 22 Feb. 2018 The Edmonton native is being whispered — amazingly, given his NHL debut was Dec. 18 — as a dark-horse Calder Trophy candidate as the league’s top rookie. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Former Everett Silvertips goalie Carter Hart putting on one-man show to keep Philadelphia Flyers in playoff hunt," 11 Feb. 2019 As depicted on the hit Netflix series The Crown, whispering courtiers – along with Elizabeth’s father King George VI – had reservations about Philip Mountbatten, a young, dashing naval officer. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "How the Queen Fought to Marry the Love of Her Life, Prince Philip," 10 June 2018 Inspired by fungi that feed off a host, Project Alias is a small, open-source device that sits atop your voice assistant and whispers static into its ears. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "This Brilliant Home Assistant Add-On Makes Eavesdropping Completely Impossible," 14 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The Information reported similar whispers of Google's game-streaming plans back in February, saying a program codenamed Yeti had been in development for at least two years. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Report: Google courting developers for coming game-streaming service," 29 June 2018 Anthony Bourdain entered the literary stage with an inside tip, delivered in the gruff whisper of a racetrack tout: Don’t order fish on Mondays. New York Times, "Anthony Bourdain Was a Teller of Often Unappetizing Truths," 8 June 2018 On a recent Monday evening, as the chorus practiced for its Pride weekend season finale, members joked and needled one another in whispers. Ryan Kost, San Francisco Chronicle, "The S.F. Gay Men’s Chorus, part of history itself, sings it out in ‘Unbreakable’," 14 June 2018 There’s been some talk among Group of Five administrators, if always in whispers and rarely taken seriously, about branching out and creating a championship format separate from the Power Five. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "The problem with college football's postseason," 12 June 2018 June all but throws herself in front of the van, begging him not to leave her first in shouts and then in almost-whispers, and Omar cannot resist Elisabeth Moss’s wildly expressive face. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 3: June Pays a Price for Refusing to Be Passive," 2 May 2018 If the mattress starts to deflate, the whisper-quiet pump automatically adjusts to prevent sagging. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Air Mattresses on the Market," 20 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

19 Apr 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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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