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[heer-sey] /ˈhɪərˌseɪ/
unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge:
I pay no attention to hearsay.
an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor:
a malicious hearsay.
of, relating to, or characterized by hearsay:
hearsay knowledge; a hearsay report.
Origin of hearsay
1525-35; orig. in phrase by hear say, translation of Middle French par ouïr dire
1. talk, scuttlebutt, babble, tittle-tattle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hearsay
  • The nation's military lawyers disagree, saying that even in wartime, there are plenty of ways to avoid flat-out hearsay.
  • hearsay evidence, for instance, is admissible in court.
  • The problem was that her testimony had already been deemed inadmissible hearsay.
  • Dozens of people are convicted each year, though hearsay is often used as evidence and accusers invent verbal transgressions.
  • Please fill up the comments below with hearsay and conjecture and rumor.
  • Prosecutors had argued that the witness's testimony would be inadmissible under the hearsay rule.
  • It has to be said that those dark reputations were largely based on hearsay.
  • Her statements about what happened may be true or they may be false, but they are certainly not hearsay.
  • Ask people for comment before printing claims about them or attributing hearsay to them.
  • Touting hearsay from others does not qualify as fact.
British Dictionary definitions for hearsay


gossip; rumour
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 hearsay

1530s, perhaps mid-15c., from phrase to hear say.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hearsay in Culture

hearsay definition

Information heard by one person about another. Hearsay is generally inadmissible as evidence in a court of law because it is based on the reports of others rather than on the personal knowledge of a witness.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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