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, pertaining to, or characterized by hearsay: hearsay knowledge; a hearsay report.

1525–35; orig. in phrase by hear say, translation of Middle French par ouïr dire

1. talk, scuttlebutt, babble, tittle-tattle.
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World English Dictionary
hearsay (ˈhɪəˌseɪ)
gossip; rumour

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Encyclopedia Britannica


in Anglo-American law, testimony that consists of what the witness has heard others say. United States and English courts may refuse to admit testimony that depends for its value upon the truthfulness and accuracy of one who is neither under oath nor available for cross-examination. The rule is subject, however, to many exceptions. In continental European law, where there is no jury to be protected from misleading testimony, judges may consider any evidence that they consider pertinent to reaching a decision. See also circumstantial evidence.

Learn more about hearsay with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
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.
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