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

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 Demand has increased, in fact, as whispered news of his close call circulates. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "James Turrell’s New Masterpiece in the Desert," 14 Jan. 2019 And when Momoa made his debut in Justice League, his character’s gruff new gimmick offered a nice contrast with the goofiness of Aquaman’s fish-whispering superpower, especially when the jokes came at the expense of tough Curry himself. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Aquaman goes for broke and lands somewhere between overstuffed marine opera and cheesy comic book fun," 11 Dec. 2018 All the while, mysterious voices whisper as dramatic music plays in the background. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Jennifer Lawrence’s New Dior Ad Is Being Accused of Cultural Appropriation," 16 Nov. 2018 It's been whispered around the horse racing community that Justify’s remaining race schedule this year could be very thin and that was before this. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! CHRB ready to tackle Golden Gate issue," 12 July 2018 Fences Movies based on plays are always tricky, and whispers usually not that interesting. Tom Philip, GQ, "The Best Movies/TV to Stream on Hulu This July 4," 3 July 2018 Carrie is perhaps the most heartbreaking, her face pressed close to the lens, whispering plaintively like a fugitive, apologetically unburdening her palpable panic, pain, and loneliness. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "An unflinching look at ‘The Pain of Others’," 28 June 2018 Even there, respect is hard to find, with wedding guests whispering behind the musicians’ backs, accusing them of being pimps and infidels because over the years of war people started believing music is prohibited in Islam. Maija Liuhto, Longreads, "A Music So Beautiful the Birds Fell from the Trees," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The bleeding is just the lengthening of our shadow and the release of its whispers. David Roderick, San Francisco Chronicle, "State Lines: Joseph Rios’ ‘Nocturnes’," 30 May 2018 Its exotic whisper of garam masala, balanced by the berry’s sweetness and a tart squirt of lemon, is the magic touch that lifts a simple fresh-roasted turkey sandwich to something special. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Middle Child a bright new player in luncheonette revival," 25 May 2018 All are small-batch distilleries that depend mostly on the local water for their whisper of differences. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "Distillery Brings Spirits Back to Manhattan," 21 May 2018 Sometimes, the nuns speak at little more than a whisper. Tim Sullivan, The Seattle Times, "AP finds long history of nuns abused by priests in India," 1 Jan. 2019 Will the whispers subside, or grow stronger in 2019? Elise Taylor, Vogue, "What to Expect From the British Royal Family in 2019," 27 Dec. 2018 The plan had been to whisper in the administration’s ear. Jessica Chou, Glamour, "Shawn Holley Will Free You Now," 11 Dec. 2018 Down a sleepy lane in Ba Đình, Reng Reng Cafe is a whisper-quiet, no-Wi-Fi café that wouldn’t be out of place in Tokyo. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hanoi, Time and Again," 20 Nov. 2018 Their intimacy sparked wondering whispers that the two were having an affair. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "Off-Broadway Play Makes Sly Nod to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand," 20 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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Statistics for whisper

Last Updated

8 Feb 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 , 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 servile follower or underling

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