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Gossip, Rumor: What is it, Idle Talk, Exchange of Information, Way of Communication?

Updated on May 3, 2009

We all do this at one time or another

We all do this; women, men, children, old people, young people. At one time or another we do this, sometimes even not admitting that we are doing this. Since we can talk, we do this.

Even in ancient societies people loved to do this. Egyptologists recently uncovered hieroglyphics which contain gossip about everything from the baldness of the queen to the sexual orientation of the king.

The English word "gossip" originated as "godsibb," meaning "a person related to one in God," or a godparent. Until the 1800s, "gossip" denoted friendship. Today gossip is defined by the dictionary as "chatty talk; the reporting of sensational or intimate information."

Gossiping and rumoring is old as dirt. Sometimes it is as dirty as dirt. Sometimes it is as eye opening as morning coffee. Gossip sometimes destroys friendships, marriages, business partnerships. But very often, the damage that is blamed on gossip more rightly should be blamed on people who have acted badly. Such people will blame gossip for holding them morally accountable for their behavior, not being ready to accept that the gossip originated due to their own mistakes.

So, is it good or bad?

Until recently, it was taken for granted by moral that gossip was bad. However, at the end of 20th century-beginning of 21st people tend to replace values. What was considered bad since Bible times is now justified and turned in favor of sinners. Everything in life is relative. Those who were condemned perverts before are proud minorities now, people find euphemisms for criminals, for terrorists, for liars. Thieves who put everyone into debt are getting money to be bailed out. In this light one should not be surprised that gossiping is called a natural mechanism of communication actually benefitting the manhood. Some sources compare rumor spreading with grooming in animal world, i.e. vitally needed means of communicating. Others are spending rich funds for researches to prove the brain based dependence for gossiping.

Physiologists consider that gossiping is a habit which should be practiced, as people who are not able to lead private discussions are not popular and are loners. Journalists, reporters, paparazzi, politicians are professional gossipers doing it for living. Neighbors are doing it for fun. A person doesn't have to speak gossip in order to be guilty of it. As soon as he/she participates in it, they are involved. They begin to lower the bar. No matter what contemporary psychology tends to proclaim, gossiping and rumoring behind somebody’s back is a low moral. But, oh boy, how tempting it is and how hard it is NOT to fall for this when you hear “Listen, what I’ll tell you…..”, or “I know it from a reliable source…..”, or “You know what I’ve just heard…”

OK, what are other introductions for a gossiping session? Any suggestions?

Is gossiping an inocent way of communication?

See results

There is a very tiny border between a low rumor spreading and telling someone about something. Everyone has to make his/hers choices. It is said that two-thirds of all human conversation is gossip. The best advise for gossipers should be- if you have nothing to do, go and solve a cross-word or puzzle, or read a book.

Alternative for gossiping neighborhood

What some invent, the rest enlarge.
Jonathan Swift

Whoever keeps an open ear For tattlers will be sure to hear The trumpet of contention.
William Cowper

Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of those who diffuse it; it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker.
George Eliot

There isn't much to be seen in a little town, but what you hear makes up for it.
Kin Hubbard

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
Oscar Wilde

Gossip is what no one claims to like -- but everyone enjoys.
Joseph Conrad

Count not him among your friends who will retail your privacies to the world.
Publilius Syrus

A cruel story runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run.

The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.
George Bernard Shaw

What you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth. ~Jewish Proverb

If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. ~Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

If it's very painful for you to criticize your friends - you're safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that's the time to hold your tongue. ~Alice Duer Miller

The biggest liar in the world is They Say. ~Douglas Malloch

Some wisdom


To harken to evil conversation is the road to wickedness.

No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.
Bertrand Russell

Gossip is always a personal confession either of malice or imbecility.
Josiah Gilbert Holland

What people say behind your back is your standing in the community.
Edgar Watson Howe

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
Spanish Proverb

We cannot control the evil tongues of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them.
Cato the Elder

The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.
Will Rogers

Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.
Oscar Wilde

No sword bites so fiercly as an evil tongue.
Sir Philip Sidney

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Will Rogers

Truth is not exciting enough to those who depend on the characters and lives of their neighbors for all their amusement.
George Bancroft

Even doubtful accusations leave a stain behind them.
Thomas Fuller

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love: but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

GOSSIP- Listen Up


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    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

      izetti, thank you for your comment and also for following me. I am your follower too! Your hubs are great!

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Such a cool hub! Never thought about this topic much, but I know i hate gossip so it was fun learning about it.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 7 years ago from USA

      Good choice, susan. As Spanish proverb says, "Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you."

    • profile image

      susan 7 years ago

      Sometimes people gossip and don't mention the person's name they're gossiping about and that supposedly makes it ok. I have some friends that don't gossip, those are the ones I want to be around, it helps me.

    • Rumor profile image

      Rumor 8 years ago from Dundee, Scotland ;D

      I like this hub reminds of mine: Dirt!

      I love rumors - gossip


      Lots of love



    • profile image

      Writer Rider 8 years ago


    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      Are you a journalist? LOL

    • profile image

      Writer Rider 8 years ago

      I only gossip if I get paid for it. Then I do my utmost best.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      Nice to see you, Dame. As they say, there's no smoke without fire and you are right, we should differentiate the information and the way we treat it shows how decent (or how not) we are. I'm glad you teach your kids right things.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      Gossip done with malice is awful for everybody. I always tell my kids, theres always two sides to every story and pay attention if it's done as being nasty towards others or from the news , :) they have learned to identify the people seeking to hurt others. Great Hub, thank you.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 8 years ago from USA

      Ralph, I agree with you. And, of course, the way how we deal with gossiping is very important. If we talk how to help a friend out of some issue, or just give information about some events in his life, it might be okay to talk about him without him present, but if people are tale-telling just for the sake of it, I will excuse myself and leave the group, as it's none of my business.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      There's all kinds of gossip--true, partly true, mostly true, mostly false and false as well as positive, neutral, negative and downright malicious. As St. Thomas said, "Seldom affirm, never deyy, always distinguish.) Nice hub. I enjoyed the video.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 8 years ago from HubPages, FB


      Reuvera, very good hub, congratulations! Many gossipers do not have anything to do or say.