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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 ?
When I first launched The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan(TM) line, it was my mission to make products that were more instinctual and healthier for a dog's needs to achieve balance and fulfillment," said Cesar Millan.
Featuring an exclusive forward from Jennifer Love Hewitt, the Ghost Whisperer Spirit Guide is a great gift offering readers a unique and knowledgeable insight into the show.
Lindsey, project manager and horse whisperer at the Penytrip Project, says she first saw the positive effect working with horses could have on youngsters while working at a summer camp in Virginia in the USA.
Mr Thomas, who grew up on the family farm, learned his skills from Monty Roberts, an American trainer believed to have been one of the inspirations for the novel and the film The Horse Whisperer.
Katherine James with her pet pooch Lulu, who was cut from The Dog Whisperer show at the CIA at the last minute
Griff can read other people's thoughts, indeed he cannot avoid doing so, and he begins to receive desperate cries for help from a voice he names the Whisperer.
Dog whisperer Cesar's tour has recently completed sell-out runs in the US and Australia.
I definitely think we should get the Dog Whisperer round to sort the rat out.
To hammer home the point that he's top dog, the Whisperer even eats portions from his own pet's bowl before passing it to the animal.
Ghost Whisperer -- The Complete First Season'' (Paramount; $72;99)
The Car Whisperer tool makes it possible to "inject audio data" into a poorly configured Bluetooth device and also to eavesdrop on conversations held inside the car.
An international horse whisperer has been passing on his equine experience to budding riders in the North-East.
And she remembers all too well the local Indian myth of the evil Whisperer in the Dark.
A horse whisperer has taken her new Warwickshire-based business into the international arena.
OB - News), a premium pet retailer, announced its partnership with famed "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Milan, a self-taught professional dog trainer widely known for his television series The Dog Whisperer and author of several books on dog care and training.