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From Middle English godsybbe, godsib (a close friend or relation, a confidant; a godparent), from Old English godsibb (godparent, sponsor), equivalent to god +‎ sib. Doublet of godsib.



gossip (countable and uncountable, plural gossips)

  1. (countable) Someone who likes to talk about other people's private or personal business.
    Synonyms: busybody, gossipmonger, meddler, rumormonger; see also Thesaurus:gossiper
    Be careful what you say to him: he’s a bit of a gossip.
    • 1752, Arthur Murphy, The Gray’s Inn Journal[1], volume 1, No. 11:
      A losing Gamester, who is obliged to drive into the City to dispose of a little South Sea Stock, gives the Hint there. The Gossips at Garraway’s have it in a Moment: At One it is buzz’d on Change, and the circulating Whisper in the Boxes interrupts the Play at Night.
    • 1846, Herman Melville, “Sequel Containing the Story of Toby”, in Typee[2]:
      He was an arrant old gossip, too; for ever coming off in his canoe to the ships in the bay, and regaling their crews with choice little morsels of court scandal []
    • 1952, John Steinbeck, chapter 48, in East of Eden[3], London: Heinemann:
      Alf could tell you about everybody on both sides of Main Street. He was a vicious male gossip, insatiably curious and vindictive without malice.
  2. (uncountable) Idle talk about someone’s private or personal matters, especially someone not present.
    Synonyms: dirt, hearsay, rumor, scandal, scuttlebutt; see also Thesaurus:rumor
    According to the latest gossip, their relationship is on the rocks.
    I have a juicy piece of gossip to share with you.
    • 1817 December, [Jane Austen], chapter XVIII, in Persuasion; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. [], volume (please specify |volume=III or IV), London: John Murray, [], 1818, →OCLC:
      [] the thing is certainly true. It is not a mere bit of gossip. We have it from Frederick himself.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter II, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      I ought to arise and go forth with timbrels and with dances; but, do you know, I am not inclined to revels? There has been a little—just a very little bit too much festivity so far …. Not that I don’t adore dinners and gossip and dances; not that I do not love to pervade bright and glittering places. []
    • 1980, J. M. Coetzee, chapter 2, in Waiting for the Barbarians[4], Penguin, published 1982:
      The smaller a town the more richly it hums with gossip. There are no private affairs here. Gossip is the air we breathe.
    • 2018, Anna Burns, chapter 1, in Milkman[5], London: Faber & Faber:
      Intense nosiness about everybody had always existed in the area. Gossip washed in, washed out, came, went, moved on to the next target.
  3. (uncountable) Idle conversation in general.
    Synonyms: chat, chinwag, chit-chat, natter; see also Thesaurus:chatter
  4. (uncountable) A genre in contemporary media, usually focused on the personal affairs of celebrities.
    a gossip columnist
    a gossip blog
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter I, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, →OCLC:
      Little disappointed, then, she turned attention to "Chat of the Social World," gossip which exercised potent fascination upon the girl's intelligence. She devoured with more avidity than she had her food those pretentiously phrased chronicles of the snobocracy [] distilling therefrom an acid envy that robbed her napoleon of all its savour.
  5. (now only historical) A sponsor; a godfather or godmother; the godparent of a child.
    Synonyms: sponsor, godsib
    Hyponyms: godfather, godmother
    • c. 1590–1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      ’tis not a maid, for she hath had gossips [i.e. she could not be a virgin, because she has children with godparents]
    • 1689, John Selden, Table-Talk[6], London: Jacob Tonson et al., 1696, “Prayer”:
      Should a great Lady, that was invited to be a Gossip, in her place send her Kitchen-Maid, ’twould be ill taken;
    • 1742, [Samuel Richardson], Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded. [], volume III, London: [] S[amuel] Richardson; and sold by C[harles] Rivington, []; and J. Osborn, [], →OCLC, page 400:
      It seems, Miss, that if he stood not himself, or procur’d not Gossips for the Christening of the Children of his poorer Tenants, he always sent them a large rich Cake []
    • 1908, Patrick Weston Joyce, A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland: Treating of the Government, Military System, and Law; Religion, Learning, and Art; Trades, Industries, and Commerce; Manners, Customs, and Domestic Life, of the Ancient Irish People, page 287:
      When a man stood sponsor for a child at baptism, he became the child's godfather, and gossip to the parents.
    • 2010, Susan E. Phillips, Transforming Talk: The Problem with Gossip in Late Medieval England, Penn State Press, →ISBN, page 154:
      Gossips accepted responsibility for the child's spiritual and physical well-being,  []
  6. (obsolete) A familiar acquaintance.
    Synonym: friend
  7. (obsolete) Title used with the name of one's child's godparent or of a friend.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Chinese:
    • Wu: 茄山河 (3ga-se-hhu)



gossip (third-person singular simple present gossips, present participle gossiping or gossipping, simple past and past participle gossiped or gossipped)

  1. (intransitive) To talk about someone else's private or personal business, especially in a manner that spreads the information.
    Synonyms: blab, dish the dirt, spill the tea, talk out of turn, tell tales out of school
  2. (intransitive) To talk idly.
    Synonyms: chat, chatter, chew the fat, chinwag, natter, prattle, shoot the breeze
  3. (obsolete) To stand godfather to; to provide godparents for.
    • c. 1604–1605 (date written), William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
      [] a world
      Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms [i.e. Christian names],
      That blinking Cupid gossips.
    • 1709, Richard Steele, “No. 95 in The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff”, in The Tatler[10], London, 1712:
      The Pleasure I used to take in telling my Boy Stories of the Battles, and asking my Girl Questions about the Disposal of her Baby, and the Gossiping of it, is turned into inward Reflection and Melancholy.
  4. (obsolete) To enjoy oneself during festivities, to make merry.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.




Borrowed from English gossip.


gossip m (invariable)

  1. gossip (especially concerning famous or important people)
    Synonym: pettegolezzo

Derived terms[edit]