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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 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!"
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

stage whisper

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.”
See also: stage, whisper
References in periodicals archive ?
Acoustic pressure from a whispery 25dB to the 165dB roar of launch.
Monroe was known, not only by her movies, walk, and whispery voice, but also for her great chemistry with the camera.
Without an internal combustion engine, they felt no vibrations under their feet and could even hear whispery conversations.
Sure enough, a soft whispery song seems to float on the breeze from the 42 windmills jostling in the wind at the Mid-America Windmill Museum in Kendallville, Ind.
Jack describe the effect in his autobiography, Caveman, as "movement answered by a hushed whispery sound.
Sugar is dreamily honeyed, Mine For Keeps all 3am whispery chill out and About Time shimmering in a Riviera heat haze, but don't mistake this for a softening of edge.
The island compound would feature a dining pavilion among the palm trees, or a hall, rather, a somewhat baronial edifice with excellent acoustics, so that conversations, even very whispery ones, would not drift up into the rafters and get lost among the ceremonial flags.
It was working-class heroism and even now in my mind I can hear Len Dickins reading about tidal waves and his approval of black cannibalism comes fitfully to me, half a century after a whispery reading of Coral Island by R.
This time, without the noise of the Game of the Week, Scud's whispery voice carried in the quiet of his front yard exactly as the camera click had.
Alison Krauss has one of the more distinctive voices around--it's thin and whispery to the point of being ethereal.
The characteristic Parkinsonian vocal deficit is breathy, whispery, often unintelligible speech due to glottic insufficiency and associated thyroarytenoid muscle rigidity.
lyrical interchanges and whispery lifts were over before one realized
Agua highlights the whispery Sade-like vocals of Karen Vaughn Sanchez and the salsa-inspired Tengo Sed (The Batidos Song) burns with jazz great Chucho Valdes as a guest on piano and rumbero Eddie Bobe on vocals and conga.
The walls of whispery blue and the soft, understated carpet, donated by Jimmy Lyles Carpets, complemented the rich Mississippi landscapes of vibrant greens, smokey amethyst shadows, and brilliant citrine, creating an illusion of space in a room barely over eleven feet wide.