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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I heard afterwards they were shelling an empty and deserted kopje for hours, but I know that only from hearsay.

    Ladysmith H. W. Nevinson
  • For him it was purely a matter of hearsay which could not in itself cause this emotion.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • Try to think that civilized nations exist to whom this food is unknown—nay, who speak of it, on hearsay, with contempt!

  • And this was accurate; his knowledge of all three was based on hearsay evidence.

    Rope Holworthy Hall
  • The members of the Commission were not content with hearsay evidence.

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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