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1. A game played between a group of people in which a story or message is told by one person in secret to another, who then retells it to the next, and so on, with the resulting end message usually differing widely (and often amusingly) from the original. It can be considered a pejorative term, so discretion is advised. Primarily heard in UK. Chinese whispers is a great game—it's always hilarious to see what the last person has interpreted by the end!
2. Any information or gossip that has been spread and retold by multiple parties, thus obfuscating, distorting, or exaggerating the original information. A somewhat pejorative term, it takes its name from the party game described above. Primarily heard in UK. The firm's CEO denounced the rumors of impending layoffs as being nothing more than Chinese whispers. It's a common occurrence that sensationalist news headlines devolve into Chinese whispers, thus leading a large number of people to accept misinformation as fact.
in a pig's whisper
Very quickly; in a very short amount of time. Sorry for the wait. Your lunch will be out in a pig's whisper.
in a stage whisper
In an exaggerated whisper that is loud enough to be overheard by other people. In theater performance, a "stage whisper" is speech that is loud enough to be heard by the audience but that has the hushed affectation of a whisper. He leaned over to me during the meeting and said in this really smug stage whisper, "And that's why Steve's the boss!"
1. Literally, in theater performance, speech that is loud enough to be heard by the audience but that has the hushed affectation of a whisper. I think you should say the line in a stage whisper, since you're supposed to be attending a funeral in the scene.
2. By extension, an exaggerated whisper that is loud enough to be overheard by other people. He leaned over to me during the meeting and said in this really smug stage whisper, "And that's why Steve's the boss!"
whisper (something) around
To spread gossip, rumors, or secrets around (some place or group of people) in a secretive, circumspect manner. Stop whispering stuff like that around—you know it's probably not true! Tommy whispered it around the rest of the class that the Sally had been expelled for stealing from the principal.
whisper about (someone or something)
1. Literally, to talk about someone or something in a whisper. Catherine and her friend huddled in the corner of the room, whispering about something or other. I could hear tell they were whispering about me, even though I couldn't hear what they were saying.
2. By extension, to discuss or gossip about something in a secretive, circumspect manner. A lot of people in the company have been whispering about supposed layoffs coming down the line. Kids at school are whispering about the principal, saying that he is wanted for murder in Louisiana.
whisper sweet nothings
To murmur words of affection to someone in a flirtatious manner. These words may be genuine or less serious. My ex-boyfriend used to whisper sweet nothings to me and then sneak out with his mistress later! At the prom, I watched all the couples around me whispering sweet nothings to each other as they danced.
whisper sweet nothings in (one's) ear
To murmur words of affection to someone in a flirtatious manner. These words may be genuine or less serious. My ex-boyfriend used to whisper sweet nothings in my ear and then sneak out with his mistress later!
The spread of rumors, with the intent of damaging a person's reputation The whispering campaign that the opposition has launched against me is just awful! I haven't done any of the things they've claimed! I'm always skeptical of the terrible allegations that come out in these whispering campaigns.
in a stage whisper
Fig. in a loud whisper that everyone can hear. John said in a stage whisper, "This play is boring." "When do we eat?" asked Billy in a stage whisper.
whisper about someone or something
to speak about someone or something in a quiet, breathy voice, as if telling secrets. I hope they aren't whispering about me. Everyone is whispering about the incident in the lunchroom.
whisper something around
to spread secrets or gossip around. Now, don't whisper this around, but Sam is going to run away from home. If you whisper this around, you will spoil the surprise.
A whisper loud enough to be overheard, as in Our three-year-old behaved beautifully at the ceremony, but then he asked in a stage whisper, "Why does that lady have blue hair?" This expression alludes to an actor's whisper on stage, which is meant to be heard by the audience. [Mid-1800s]
A deliberate spreading of derogatory rumors about a candidate, as in That whispering campaign destroyed his chances for election. [c. 1920]
A whisper intended to be heard by one and all. In the theater this term literally meant an aside—a thought spoken aloud—communicated to the audience and allegedly unheard by the other actors on stage. It dates from the mid-nineteenth century and by 1900 or so was employed figuratively. J. V. McIlwraith used it in Kinsmen at War (1927): “Mrs. Secord spoke in a stage whisper.”