General English

Information & Library Science

  • noun a conversation or report about other people’s behaviour, which is often exaggerated and not always completely true

Media Studies

  • noun a form of (generally female) talk that is more focused on intimacy and bonding than on exchange of information

Origin & History of “gossip”

The Anglo-Saxons’ term for a ‘godparent’ was godsibb, a compound formed from god ‘god’ (just as in modern English godmother, godfather, etc) and sib ‘relative’ (a word of unknown origin from which modern English gets sibling). It denotes one’s ‘relative in God’, one’s ‘spiritual relative’. By middle English times, however, it had come down in the world somewhat, to mean simply ‘close friend’, and by the 16th century it was being used for ‘one who indulges in idle talk’. The modern sense ‘idle talk’ developed from the verb in the 19th century.