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Chinese whispers

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.
See also: Chinese, whisper

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.
See also: nothing, sweet, whisper

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!
See also: ear, nothing, sweet, whisper

whispering campaign

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.
See also: campaign, whisper

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.
See also: whisper

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.
See also: 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.
See also: whisper

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.
See also: around, whisper

stage whisper

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]
See also: stage, whisper

whispering campaign

A deliberate spreading of derogatory rumors about a candidate, as in That whispering campaign destroyed his chances for election. [c. 1920]
See also: campaign, whisper
References in periodicals archive ?
Whisper was partnered by Jeremiah McGrath in Tuesday's workout, with the Jamie Davidsonridden Peace And Co and Peter Carberry aboard Josses Hill finishing close-up.
e nature of a Chinese Whisper reminds us that a message can be manipulated, but we are choosing to remind people of how a positive message can bring a community together.
The Grove, Los Angeles' premier center for fine dining, entertainment, and shopping, debuted its upscale supper club, The Whisper Lounge, reviving the spirit of legendary Hollywood's supper lounges and private night clubs.
Whisper numbers continue to play an important role in today's stock market by acting as a dynamic measuring point against which actual estimates are measured.
In a blog post about the acquisition, Whisper Systems didn't say much about what Twitter might be planning to do with the technology.
Have you got any Chinese Whispers you'd like to share?
The Whisper bus is equipped with a revolutionary new drive system utilizing wheel hub motors.
Whisper reaches out with his beak and pulls her hair.
Out of the hole," he would whisper as he tied, "around the tree, into the hole.
WINTER WHISPER, lightly raced and with Norman Williamson on board, looks the Sunday best at Fairyhouse today.
Microsoft refused to be drawn on when Whisper will be incorporated into Windows 2000.
According to Dudleston, the Whisper is designed to act as an "acoustic gun," which means that the sound is propagated into the room in such a way as to reduce interaction with room boundaries.
What should we feel at the first whisper of a certain suggestion about a certain man?
In these dark woods where fog hangs in leafless trees I hear a whisper in the warm air of midnight while deer stare by the narrow path, yet I go on pacing the woods I loved as a child while the dark world persists, the fog lingers on.
Ideal for teaching children age 1 and up, Whisper, Whisper is reader-friendly, reverent, and relevant.