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whispering

[hwis-per-ing, wis-] /ˈʰwɪs pər ɪŋ, ˈwɪs-/
noun
1.
whispered talk or conversation.
2.
rumor, hearsay, or gossip.
3.
a whispered sound.
adjective
4.
that whispers; making a sound like a whisper.
5.
like a whisper.
6.
given to whispering; gossipy.
7.
conversing in whispers.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English (noun), Old English hwisprunge. See whisper, -ing2, -ing1
Related forms
whisperingly, adverb
half-whisperingly, adverb
unwhispering, adjective

whisper

[hwis-per, wis-per] /ˈʰwɪs pər, ˈwɪs pər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to speak with soft, hushed sounds, using the breath, lips, etc., but with no vibration of the vocal cords.
2.
Phonetics. to produce utterance substituting breath for phonation.
3.
to talk softly and privately (often implying gossip, slander, plotting, or the like):
The king knew that the courtiers were whispering.
4.
(of trees, water, breezes, etc.) to make a soft, rustling sound like that of whispering.
verb (used with object)
5.
to utter with soft, low sounds, using the breath, lips, etc.:
He whispered endearments to her.
6.
Phonetics. to utter (speech sounds) substituting breath for phonation.
7.
to say or tell in a whisper; tell privately.
8.
to speak to or tell (a person) in a whisper or privately.
noun
9.
the mode of utterance, or the voice, of a person who whispers:
to speak in a whisper.
10.
a word or remark uttered by whispering.
11.
a rumor or insinuation:
Whispers circulated about the affair.
12.
a soft, rustling sound like a whisper:
the whisper of leaves in the wind.
Origin
before 950; Middle English whisperen (v.), Old English hwisprian; cognate with German wispern; akin to Old Norse hviskra to whisper, hvīsla to whistle. See whine
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for whispering
  • whispering can strain the vocal cords more than speaking does.
  • They are lined up as though they are whispering to each other.
  • She started whispering to herself and stabbing at the paper with her pen.
  • Then he became aware of a tense whispering not ten feet away.
  • whispering and giggling at the same time have no place in good society.
  • They clutched at me more boldly, whispering odd sounds to each other.
  • The editor of a movie is the one whispering in your ear as you watch.
  • All around him family members were shouting at each other, yet he was whispering.
  • It offers private horseback riding lessons and workshops on horse care, safety and horse whispering.
  • Alternately thundering and whispering from the podium, he wove together biblical, historical and apocalyptic themes.
British Dictionary definitions for whispering

whisper

/ˈwɪspə/
verb
1.
to speak or utter (something) in a soft hushed tone, esp without vibration of the vocal cords
2.
(intransitive) to speak secretly or furtively, as in promoting intrigue, gossip, etc
3.
(intransitive) (of leaves, trees, etc) to make a low soft rustling sound
4.
(transitive) to utter or suggest secretly or privately to whisper treason
noun
5.
a low soft voice to speak in a whisper
6.
something uttered in such a voice
7.
a low soft rustling sound
8.
a trace or suspicion
9.
(informal) a rumour or secret
Word Origin
Old English hwisprian; related to Old Norse hvīskra, Old High German hwispalōn, Dutch wispern
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 whispering
whisper
O.E. hwisprian "speak very softly" (only in a Northumbrian gloss for L. murmurare), from P.Gmc. *khwis- (cf. M.Du. wispelen, O.H.G. hwispalon, Ger. wispeln, wispern, O.N. hviskra "to whisper"), imitative and probably related to O.E. hwistlian "to whistle." The noun is from 1596.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with whispering
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for whispering

whisper

speech in which the vocal cords are held rigid, preventing the vibration that produces normal sounds. In whispering, voiceless sounds are produced as usual; but voiced sounds (e.g., vowels) are produced by forcing air through a narrow glottal opening formed by holding the vocal cords rigid and close together. See also voice; vocal fry.

Learn more about whisper with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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