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[gos-uh p] /ˈgɒs əp/
idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others:
the endless gossip about Hollywood stars.
light, familiar talk or writing.
Also, gossiper, gossipper. a person given to tattling or idle talk.
Chiefly British Dialect. a godparent.
Archaic. a friend, especially a woman.
verb (used without object), gossiped or gossipped, gossiping or gossipping.
to talk idly, especially about the affairs of others; go about tattling.
verb (used with object), gossiped or gossipped, gossiping or gossipping.
Chiefly British Dialect. to stand godparent to.
Archaic. to repeat like a gossip.
Origin of gossip
before 1050; Middle English gossib, godsib(be), Old English godsibb, orig. godparent, equivalent to god God + sibb related; see sib
Related forms
gossipingly, adverb
intergossip, verb, intergossiped or intergossipped, intergossiping.
ungossiping, adjective
1. small talk, hearsay, palaver, chitchat. Gossip, scandal apply to idle talk and newsmongering about the affairs of others. Gossip is light chat or talk: to trade gossip about the neighbors. Scandal is rumor or general talk that is damaging to reputation; it is usually more or less malicious: The town never lived down the election scandal. 3. chatterer, talker, gabbler, rumormonger. 6. chatter, prattle, prate, palaver. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gossip
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The gossip of L—— had set in full current against Lilian's fair name.

    A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • No wonder Florence has a hard time of it; but isn't it wretched of me to gossip?

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Some slaves had been in the room on the occasion, and the circumstance had become notorious in the gossip of the Palace.

    Darkness and Dawn Frederic W. Farrar
  • That's all gossip, you know; not a word of truth in it, and it's been very annoying to us both.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I didn't listen—I make it a point never to listen to gossip—but Maria—Maria, you can come here now.

    The Honorable Miss L. T. Meade
British Dictionary definitions for gossip


casual and idle chat: to have a gossip with a friend
a conversation involving malicious chatter or rumours about other people: a gossip about the neighbours
Also called gossipmonger. a person who habitually talks about others, esp maliciously
light easy communication: to write a letter full of gossip
(archaic) a close woman friend
verb -sips, -siping, -siped
(intransitive) often foll by about. to talk casually or maliciously (about other people)
Derived Forms
gossiper, noun
gossiping, noun, adjective
gossipingly, adverb
gossipy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English godsibb godparent, from god + sib; the term came to be applied to familiar friends, esp a woman's female friends at the birth of a child, hence a person, esp a woman, fond of light talk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gossip

Old English godsibb "sponsor, godparent," from God + sibb "relative" (see sibling). Extended in Middle English to "any familiar acquaintance" (mid-14c.), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1560s). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." Similar formations in Old Norse guðsifja, Old Saxon guþziff.


"to talk idly about the affairs of others," 1620s, from gossip (n.). Related: Gossiped; gossiping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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