whisper

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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

stage whisper

1. Literally, in theater performance, speech that is loud enough to be heard by the audience but which 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!"
See also: stage, 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 ?
Under some circumstances, the user may whisper speech to the device and/or desire that responses be whispered.
The Whispers include Walter Scott, Wallace Scott and Leaveil Degree, who replaced Gordy Harmon in 1973.
Aimed at improving the lives of young children in need, the Whisper Children's Home was established in May 2011 to provide rehabilitation support to local children suffering from malnutrition and living in life-threatening conditions.
Organiser Mike McGrother said: "We know it's 10 times bigger than the last ocial world record for a Chinese Whisper, but we haven't gone down that route because for it to be an ocial record, it has to be in one place and we want to spread the message across Stock-Stockton.
Whisper numbers, as you probably know, are -- in the most common use of the term -- the largely unofficial numbers that a company needs to beat for an analyst to revise his or her estimate of a stock's value.
Have you got any Chinese Whispers you'd like to share?
We don't whisper the proclamation of Easter; we should it.
And although Chinese Whispers normally become distorted,it remained intact throughout.
One of you whispers into the tin can while the other holds his tin can up to his ear.
PSSST: Sandra Sutton whispers to classmate Jessica Kavanagh yesterday during Maryfield College's world record-breaking Chinese whisper
When she visits her sister, Teresa still leans in close and whispers, ``It's me, Tita,'' - the nickname Molly gave her when they were both young children growing up in Toonerville, across the railroad tracks from Glendale.
Whispers from the Cotton free Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction edited by Nalo Hopkinson Invisible Cities Press, March 2001, $14.
Many residents of the area's affluent neighborhoods are outraged at recent whispers that a Wal-Mart supercenter will be built at Arkansas 10 and Chenal Parkway.
Construction and Appearance: No doubt about it: the Whispers are big speakers.
Though his skill at each is less than spectacular, his knock for staging and shrewd musical choices has landed his theater piece, The Whispers of Angels, impressively in the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival.