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

The move capped months of whispered speculation that Bolton had fallen far out of favor with Trump and that his grip on the job was slipping. Ishaan Tharoor, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Trump axes Bolton, the hawk he brought to the White House," 11 Sep. 2019 There had been whispered suspicions about her in San Antonio. Elizabeth Zavala, ExpressNews.com, "Moms keep up fight despite loss of ally," 9 Sep. 2019 The network recently released the footage, in which Trump greets Epstein warmly and whispers in the financier's ear, leading Epstein to double over in laughter. Beth Reinhard, sun-sentinel.com, "Trump and Epstein partied together. Then a Palm Beach mansion came between them.," 31 July 2019 Men made its mutants into legends, rumors that whispered at a world far beyond the one shown on screen. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Goodbye X-Men—You Flawed, Frustrating Cinematic Revolution," 7 June 2019 For Biden, whispers about his age have grown louder, especially given some recent verbal face plants. NBC News, "Meet the Press - September 1, 2019," 1 Sep. 2019 At the judge’s invitation, the rows of women in the gallery on Tuesday stood and formed a line leading into the well of the packed courtroom, some clasping each other’s hands and whispering words of encouragement. Ali Watkins, New York Times, "Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims, Denied a Trial, Vent Their Fury: ‘He Is a Coward’," 27 Aug. 2019 Still, whispers about a possible sale persist and an unofficial list of possible local buyers surfaced in media reports — a fairly predictable who’s who of the movers and shakers in the Baltimore business community. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: Despite speculation, Orioles not on the market to be moved or sold," 15 Aug. 2019 Those close to the campaigns whisper about it and wonder about it and spread the latest rumors about it. Justin Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Jena Griswold’s possible Senate run draws criticism from women already in the race," 25 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There’s a lushness to the dish descriptions that draws you in and whispers of magical tastes and textures. Beth Segal, cleveland.com, "Thyme Table: Sage decisions can make for a great meal in Bay Village," 30 Aug. 2019 With soft peachiness, white floral, and some gentle funk on the nose, this pale, slightly cloudy sipper offers tart, bright acidity, saltiness, and just a whisper of texture. Ellen Bhang, BostonGlobe.com, "Drink your colors. Orange wines make it easy.," 27 Aug. 2019 The stares and whispers of classmates — and the teasing of especially cruel ones — had grown unbearable. Azam Ahmed, New York Times, "Women Are Fleeing Death at Home. The U.S. Wants to Keep Them Out.," 18 Aug. 2019 However, after the team’s disastrous failure to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500, the whispers about McLaren’s eventual arrival grew faint. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Sources: McLaren pursuing Colton Herta, full-season partnership with IndyCar team for 2020," 29 July 2019 Labor now has but a whisper of its once-formidable voice, and the political power of unions has shifted toward the gray- and white-collar workers of the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association. Jay Cost, National Review, "How Republicans Can Appeal to the White Working Class," 25 July 2019 Subtle with hints of honey, malt and even a whisper of Chardonnay, this brew is also food-friendly. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "10 Arizona-made beers you need to be drinking this summer," 18 July 2019 Long years of neglect in an amusement park didn’t add a whisper of promise that the 4449 would soon be whistling down any rails, except in memory. Tom Bentley, Popular Mechanics, "Why the SP 4449 Is Such a Badass Train," 15 July 2019 The thought of slipping on my running shoes still stirs a whisper of dread in my stomach. Andrea Pitzer, Outside Online, "I (Kinda) Hate Running," 9 July 2019

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

20 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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