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Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling.

I heard the little bird say so. ~ Jonathan Swift


Everybody likes a bit of gossip to some point, as long as it's gossip with some point to it. That's why I like history. History is nothing but gossip about the past, with the hope that it might be true. ~ Gore Vidal
  • Whereas some ascetics and Brahmins remain addicted to such unedifying conversation as about kings, robbers, ministers, armies, dangers, wars, food, drink, clothes, beds, garlands, perfumes, relatives, carriages, villages, towns and cities, countries, women, heroes, street- and well-gossip, talk of the departed, desultory chat, speculations about land and sea, talk about being and non-being, the ascetic Gotama refrains from such conversation.
  • A woman and a mouse, they carry a tale wherever they go.
  • He's my friend who speaks well of me behind my back.
  • To create an unfavourable impression, it is not necessary that certain things should be true, but that they have been said.
  • What kind of story am I going to give them next? Because that's what we are to other people, boy, we are their gossip. That's all civilization is, a giant mill grinding out gossip. And so I could be the story of the man who rode high and fell hard, and had his spirit broken and crawled off into a hole like a dog, to die as soon as he could manage it. Or I could be the story of a man who rode high and fell hard, and then got up defiant, and walked away in a new direction.
  • Be Impeccable with Your Word... Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  • One keeps silent and is thought to be wise, the other makes himself hated because of his gossiping. One remains silent because he does not know how to reply; the other keeps quiet, waiting for the right moment. The wise man keeps silent until the right moment; the chatterer and fool speak out of turn.
  • Cursed be the gossiper with his spiteful tongue. He has destroyed many who lived peacefully. The vicious tongue has demolished many and hounded them from nation to nation. It has ruined powerful cities and laid low great households. The vicious tongue has cast out wives who were beyond reproach, depriving them of the fruit of their work. Whoever listens to it will never find rest or be able to live in peace. The whip leaves a mark but the lash of the tongue shatters bones. Many have been felled by the sword but many more have perished by the tongue. Happy he who has escaped it and has not been exposed to its fury, who has not been weighed down by its yoke or been tied up in its chains.
  • Not without a slight shudder at the danger, I often perceive how near I had come to admitting into my mind the details of some trivial affair, — the news of the street; and I am astonished to observe how willing men are to lumber their minds with such rubbish, — to permit idle rumors and incidents of the most insignificant kind to intrude on ground which should be sacred to thought. Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself, — an Hypaethral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods?
  • Everybody likes a bit of gossip to some point, as long as it's gossip with some point to it. That's why I like history. History is nothing but gossip about the past, with the hope that it might be true.
    • Gore Vidal, as quoted in Gert Jonkers, "Gore Vidal, the Fantastic Man," Butt, No. 20 (7 April 2007)
  • There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 329.
  • Whoever keeps an open ear
    For tattlers will be sure to hear
    The trumpet of contention.
  • Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of those who diffuse it; it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker.
  • Tell tales out of school.
  • Fabula (nec sentis) tota jactaris in urbe.
    • You do not know it but you are the talk of all the town.
    • Ovid, Art of Love, III. 1. 21.
  • He that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
  • This act is as an ancient tale new told;
    And, in the last repeating, troublesome,
    Being urged at a time unseasonable.
  • I heard the little bird say so.
  • Tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
  • Fama, malum quo non aliud velocius ullum,
    Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo.
    • Report, that which no evil thing of any kind is more swift, increases with travel and gains strength by its progress.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), IV, 174.

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