• synonyms


  1. unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge: I pay no attention to hearsay.
  2. an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor: a malicious hearsay.
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  1. of, relating to, or characterized by hearsay: hearsay knowledge; a hearsay report.
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Origin of hearsay

1525–35; orig. in phrase by hear say, translation of Middle French par ouïr dire


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for hearsays

Historical Examples

  • What is his Hell, after all these reputable, oft-repeated Hearsays, what is it?

    Past and Present

    Thomas Carlyle

  • The Malmesbury Diaries at this point consist chiefly of hearsays, which can readily be refuted.

  • The subjection of holy reason to hearsays could hardly go further.

  • Hearsays cannot hide it from him; he is blind, homeless, miserable, following hearsays; it glares in upon him.

  • It only disposes, necessitates and invincibly compels him to disbelieve other men's dead formulas, hearsays and untruths.

British Dictionary definitions for hearsays


  1. gossip; rumour
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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

Word Origin and History for hearsays



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hearsays in Culture


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.

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