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rumour campaign

A concentrated and prolonged effort to damage or ruin someone's or some group's reputation through the perpetuation of rumours, innuendos, and/or falsities, generally as a means of persuading a large amount of people against him, her, or them. Primarily heard in UK. Finding himself at the wrong end of a vicious rumour campaign, the local MP's slim lead heading into the election quickly evaporated. I think we need to start a rumour campaign to slow down the competitor's growth in the market, but no one can know that it's coming from us!
See also: campaign, rumour

rumour mill

The source from or process by which rumours are generated, spread, and perpetuated among a group of people. Primarily heard in UK. Listen, Barry, you can't believe everything that comes out of the rumour mill. I can guarantee you that there will be no redundancies this year. One of the downsides of gaining celebrity status is having every aspect of your life subjected to the Hollywood rumour mill.
See also: mill, rumour
References in classic literature ?
These latter, the rumour had it, they sacrificed to some terrible god in an orgy which ended in the eating of their victims.
A strange rumour began to circulate, meanwhile; no less than that the respectable and highly respected General Epanchin was himself so fascinated by Nastasia Philipovna that his feeling for her amounted almost to passion.
Epanchin, long accustomed to her husband's infidelities, had heard of the pearls, and the rumour excited her liveliest curiosity and interest.
He thought it his duty to let me know that there had been rumours as to how your father met his death.
Hadn't I heard the stories and rumours about the Idler?
By dint of an ingenious counsel, and a legal flaw, he escaped; but only to undergo a worse punishment; for, some years afterwards, his house was broken open in the night by robbers, tempted by the rumours of his great wealth, and he was found murdered in his bed.
With my poor Emily not yet buried, can you wonder I was anxious that no more lying rumours should be started.
People surged along the sidewalk, crowding, questioning, filling the air with rumours, and inconsequent surmises.
They became hungry for news, welcoming the most absurd rumours.
We have lived through many rumours and escaped, more narrowly than most people realise, a great many dangers, but there is every indication this time that the end is really coming.
There was talk of appointing him minister, and bets were laid at the Travellers' that he would be ambassador ere long, when of a sudden, rumours arrived of the secretary's extraordinary behaviour.
On the morrow, rumours of this new act of daring on the road yielded matter for a few hours' conversation through the town, and a Public Progress of some fine gentleman (half-drunk) to Tyburn, dressed in the newest fashion, and damning the ordinary with unspeakable gallantry and grace, furnished to the populace, at once a pleasant excitement and a wholesome and profound example.
Strange rumours began to be bandied about -- rumours of murdered immigrants and rifled camps in regions where Indians had never been seen.
Through whom, how, and when those rumours came to me .
And then, springing from nowhere, sustained one knew not how, came a persistent, disturbing rumour that the problem had been solved, that the secret was known.