Published: 29th August 2018
Here's how 'gossip' and 'rumour' are significantly different in meaning
A person who enjoys spreading gossip is called a gossipmonger and a person who enjoys spreading rumours is called a rumour- monger. Both the terms have negative connotations
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee died recently after a prolonged illness. Those who have known him say that he had a sense of humour. On May 11, 1998, AB Vajpayee stunned the world by breaking the news that India had conducted nuclear tests and India had become a nuclear power country. It is said that Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, a bachelor and known as the man behind Pokhran II, had this conversation (could be a concocted one) on the eve of the day of the nuclear test:
Mr Vajpayee: Is everything fine? Hope we are ready for the nuclear test?
Dr Kalam: Yes, sir. All the arrangements have been made for the test. Let’s not reveal it to the media or to any top political leaders in the country till the test is conducted.
Mr Vajpayee: Both of us are bachelors. How will the news leak?
According to a study, the average woman cannot keep a secret for longer than 47 hours. The researchers who carried out the study say that women have a burning desire to spill the beans as soon as they hear gossip. What is the meaning of the expression ‘to spill the beans’? It is an informal expression. If someone discloses confidential information, though unintentionally, the person is said to have spilt the beans.
An actress threatened a politician that unless he married her, she would spill the beans.
If the criminal is caught, he will spill the beans on the nexus between criminals and politicians.
Some actresses spill the beans on their shining secret.
Is there any difference between ‘gossip’ and ‘rumour’? Yes, gossip and rumour are significantly different in meaning. When two or more people talk about someone’s private life that might be disapproving or something that is unpleasant, they are said to ‘gossip’. When someone spreads specific information about someone or something that has not been verified, then the person is said to spread a ‘rumour’. It is an unverified story. Both the words can be used as a verb and as a noun. Look at these examples:
She always gossips about her colleagues. (verb)
Would you like to know the latest gossip about the newly married couple? (noun)
It is rumoured that John has married his classmate. (verb)
I met him yesterday and he didn’t tell me anything about his marriage. It must be a rumour. (noun)
‘Gossip’ is an uncountable noun like ‘information’ and ‘advice’ and therefore, it does not have a plural form. We use the words ‘bit’ and ‘piece’ to quantify the word ‘gossip’ as in the examples below:
She has narrated some juicy bits of gossip about the actress and her partner in the article.
It is an interesting piece of gossip.
A person who enjoys spreading gossip is called a gossipmonger and a person who enjoys spreading rumours is called a rumour- monger. Both the terms have negative connotations. The verb that is used to describe the act of backbiting, criticising and talking ill of someone who is not present at the time of conversation is ‘bad-mouth’.
She always bad-mouths her colleagues.
You need to be careful. She bad-mouths you to your bosses.
There is an idiomatic expression that is related to the word ‘bad-mouth’ and ‘backbite’. It is ‘to give
a black eye’ to someone or something. When you give a black eye to someone, you spoil the reputation of the person.
Some media people in India try to give a black eye to Imran Khan, the newly-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Women enjoy spilling the beans and men enjoy spilling the tea; all are gossipmongers.