Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Gossip is both the act of spreading news from person to person, especially rumors or private information, and the news spread through the act of gossiping. While this is one of the oldest and (still) the most common means of spreading and sharing information, it is also notorious for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information thus transmitted. The term also carries implications that the news so transmitted is of, usually, a personal or trivial nature.
"Gossip, even when it avoids the sexual, bears around it a faint flavor of the erotic." -Patricia Meyer Spacks
Gossip has recently come into the academy as a fruitful avenue of study, particularly in light of its relationship to both overt and implicit power structures.
Some newspapers carry "gossip columns" in which the social and personal lives of celebrities or prominent members of the community are discussed.
The word "gossip" originates from god-sib, the godparent of one's child or parent of one's godchildren ("god-sibling"), referring to a relationship of close friendship.
Another story (probably apocryphal) goes that, at the beginning of the 20th century, politicians would send assistants to bars to sit and listen to what the people were saying. They were to sip a beer and listen to opinions, and so they were told to "go sip", which turned into "gossip".
Robert F. Goodman and A. Ben-Zeev, eds, Good Gossip. Univ. Press of Kansas, 1993.
Patricia Meyer Spacks. Gossip. New York: Knopf, 1985.
- Ronald Susa (U Toronto) on Gossip
- Go Ahead Gossip May Be Virtuous, New York Times article August 10, 2002
- Gossip - Rules for the Parlor Game
- Emrys Westacott (Alfred U) The Ethics of Gossiping
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