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[heer-sey] /ˈhɪərˌseɪ/
unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge:
I pay no attention to hearsay.
an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor:
a malicious hearsay.
of, relating to, or characterized by hearsay:
hearsay knowledge; a hearsay report.
Origin of hearsay
1525-35; orig. in phrase by hear say, translation of Middle French par ouïr dire
1. talk, scuttlebutt, babble, tittle-tattle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hearsay
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is no religion in the world that has any other basis than hearsay evidence.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • Remember, gentlemen, I speak only from hearsay; of myself I know nothing.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Remember, my dear madam, all I have been telling you reached myself as hearsay.

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • I had no doubt that the man knew of her being there; but he only knew it by hearsay.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
  • For him it was purely a matter of hearsay which could not in itself cause this emotion.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for hearsay


gossip; rumour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hearsay

1530s, perhaps mid-15c., from phrase to hear say.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hearsay in Culture

hearsay definition

Information heard by one person about another. Hearsay is generally inadmissible as evidence in a court of law because it is based on the reports of others rather than on the personal knowledge of a witness.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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