Definition of whisper in US English:

whisper

verb

  • 1reporting verb Speak very softly using one's breath without one's vocal cords, especially for the sake of privacy.

    ‘Alison was whispering in his ear’
    with object ‘he managed to whisper a faint goodbye’
    with direct speech ‘“Are you all right?” he whispered’
    • ‘He barely managed to whisper his response into the receiver.’
    • ‘I tried to whisper something under my breath but the teacher heard me and asked what I said.’
    • ‘On the second day she whispered when she spoke, not wanting to wake her.’
    • ‘The guys took a deep breath, whispered a prayer to the Lord above and opened their mouths to sing.’
    • ‘Gaffle raised a hand to Pintom's ear and whispered a short conversation.’
    • ‘Finally, Martin managed to whisper in my ear that he loved me and boarded the plane.’
    • ‘The sergeant managed to whisper something in Leila's ear that was faint to both Daniel's and Lance's own hearing.’
    • ‘I swallowed the lump that had gathered in my throat and whispered the words back.’
    • ‘Other diners are dotted around, whispering in conversation in reverence to the food.’
    • ‘I practically whispered, my throat constricting and my eyes bright with unshed tears.’
    • ‘Sam managed to whisper in his ear before she felt she would be taken over by tears again.’
    • ‘She can speak English but prefers to whisper in my ear rather than talking out loud in the noisy bar area.’
    • ‘In the mountains, the marines whisper to each other rather than talk: voices carry easily up here and they don't want to give themselves away to their enemy.’
    • ‘His eyes dart around and he whispers as he speaks as if what he's telling me is top secret.’
    • ‘As she lay dying she managed to whisper a description of her attacker to the detective who found her.’
    • ‘A blond girl giggled softly as a boy whispered into her ear, his arm around her shoulders.’
    • ‘Struggling for a last breath, he whispered the first thing that came to his mind.’
    • ‘So I just whisper it under my breath instead, which works out fine.’
    • ‘He wanted to speak beautiful words, whispering sonnets of his own design into her ear.’
    • ‘She kneeled down next to him, clutched his throat and whispered a severe warning to him.’
    murmur, mutter, mumble, say softly, speak softly, say in muted tones, speak in muted tones, say in hushed tones, speak in hushed tones, say sotto voce, speak sotto voce
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    1. 1.1be whispered Be rumored.
      ‘it was whispered that he would soon die’
      • ‘It was whispered that they spent all their time locked up at the Business School, frantically running from one lecture or work group to the next.’
      • ‘It was whispered that government research continued at a nearby secret mountain complex where Special Ops field agents were trained.’
      • ‘It was whispered that these people were paid handsomely for crimes that could not be traced.’
      • ‘Still, it was whispered that she had the gift of second sight.’
      • ‘When the original SMiLE sessions were taking place, it was whispered that the material was far too bizarre to be released.’
    2. 1.2literary (of leaves, wind, or water) rustle or murmur softly.
      • ‘Roots burrow under my feet and leaves whisper to each other from opposite sides of the valley.’
      • ‘The wind whispered through the trees, calling out to her in words.’
      • ‘The wind was whispering quietly in the trees, which were illuminated by a half hidden full moon.’
      • ‘The breeze whispered through the trees and swept Cat's long hair back from her face.’
      • ‘The wind whispered through her hair and brought back memories of the day she met Connor.’
      • ‘She felt like the wind whispering through the trees, but was nothing more than a shadow.’
      • ‘I feel like growling, packing a bag and heading for a remote desert island where only the wind bothers to whisper.’
      • ‘The birds were singing and even the soft breeze whispered in his ears, all helping to make the discomforting dream fade away.’
      • ‘The sun was now below the horizon and the evening breeze whispered around me.’
      • ‘Everything looked pale gray in the moonlight, and a slight breeze made the grasses whisper around me.’
      • ‘The waves pounded below, and the wind whispered in from the ocean, jostling the lone pine that grew stunted from the rocky soil.’
      • ‘Just as a lonely boat drifted into the next bay, the wind whispered softly in her ear…’
      • ‘She listened to the soft calling of the birds and the wind whispering through the trees.’
      • ‘It was really there, a wind that whispered to him like a lone siren singing her song.’
      • ‘A cool wind was rising, causing the leaves to whisper against each other, their glossy darkness shimmering.’
      • ‘Melina's horse walked on the path as all around her the forest whispered with the wind.’
      • ‘The wind made the trees sway and whisper their stories.’
      • ‘The flowers swayed in the breeze and the grass and leaves whispered with them.’
      rustle, murmur, sigh, moan, sough, whoosh, whir, swish, blow, breathe
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noun

  • 1A soft or confidential tone of voice; a whispered word or phrase.

    ‘she spoke in a whisper’
    • ‘Her voice was barely a whisper but the words echoed in her head like a jackhammer.’
    • ‘I awoke to the hushed whispers of several voices; it was becoming very difficult to breath and it was stifling hot.’
    • ‘Geraldine's tone of voice lowered to a whisper.’
    • ‘Juliet replied, her voice softer than a whisper.’
    • ‘During the last few words, Nathan's voice dropped to a whisper.’
    • ‘Tall and owl-eyed, he speaks in a voice barely above a whisper at his spacious flat in a bourgeois neighbourhood of Rome.’
    • ‘She kept hearing soft voices and whispers in her mind.’
    • ‘A friend suggests, ‘When you feel like shouting, drop your voice to a whisper.’’
    • ‘His voice was but a whisper and my recovering ears just registered the word.’
    • ‘Then I heard whispers and lowered voices and then footsteps.’
    • ‘She touched the ruby lightly as she spoke, her voice nearing a whisper with every word spoken.’
    • ‘My uncle and mother were arguing, their voices held in hushed whispers.’
    • ‘I know something unpleasant happened to her, but I was only a small child and when I was around adult voices turned into whispers.’
    • ‘‘Oh my word,’ she gasped, her voice barely a whisper.’
    • ‘‘I would never hurt you, Cole,’ he said again, his voice barely a whisper.’
    • ‘His voice was a whisper, the words forced out in one breath.’
    • ‘Then she too heard it, the snapping of a twig, and the whispers of voices.’
    • ‘In a voice soft as a whisper, fine as silk, and barely recognizable, she asked, ‘Is it a trick?’’
    • ‘Mr Robinson passed out because of the smoke, has severely impaired lungs and a voice box so badly damaged he can barely raise his voice above a whisper.’
    • ‘‘I suffered with the people,’ she said, her voice sinking to a whisper.’
    murmur, mutter, mumble, low voice, hushed tone, undertone
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    1. 1.1 A rumor or piece of gossip.
      ‘whispers of a blossoming romance’
      • ‘By now, the release of a Catherine Breillat film is a ritual: whispers of scandal give way to full-blown outrage and a polarized critical reception.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, there have been whispers of scandal.’
      • ‘He added: ‘There have been rumours and whispers, but I can say there will be no pay and display parking in Radcliffe.’’
      • ‘So there are hints, whispers, rumours, emails and questions but, significantly, no answers.’
      • ‘The game was evenly poised and the stand was full of rumours and whispers of the developing situation at Mansfield Park.’
      • ‘They existed as unsung heroes, their deeds of chivalry no more than whispers and rumours among the populace.’
      • ‘Already depressed about his marriage, the whispers and false rumours saw Temple plunge into despair, and ultimately suicide.’
      • ‘The crowd's reaction was a mixture of whispers and excited gossip about the newly discovered relative.’
      • ‘Hints and whispers had been emerging for months that something was on the cards.’
      • ‘And yet, there are hints and whispers of a brave new phenomenon in the modelling industry.’
      • ‘So, once again, we're into the world of whispers and sources, rumours, winks and knowing nods.’
      • ‘None of the allegations, hints and whispers lead anywhere.’
      • ‘The hints and whispers pointed ever more to Kelly, who friends say believed his name would be kept out of the row.’
      • ‘Rumours and whispers were circulating last night that he had been on an all day bender since 7am that morning!’
      • ‘There was a rumour, a whisper, of a deeper malaise in the state.’
      • ‘Downstairs, the servants are closer to the underbelly of society, the whispers and the rumours.’
      • ‘It was just whispers at first, reminiscent of those early rumours that eventually coalesced into the late-lamented National Post.’
      • ‘The same pattern followed: rumours, whispers, a nudge and wink, but very little in the way of hard evidence to back up theories that ‘they were all at it’.’
      • ‘Everywhere she walked, she was accompanied by rumours and whispers.’
      • ‘After that win there were the same whispers that Campbell had reported at the Olympics.’
      rumour, story, report, speculation, insinuation, suggestion, hint
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    2. 1.2literary A soft rustling or murmuring sound.
      ‘the thunder of the surf became a muted whisper’
      • ‘The only sound inside was the soft whisper of dust against the shields.’
      • ‘It was not a sound either; Ayame was certain it was impossible to hear anything above the soft whispers of the wind and the rush of the water against the shore.’
      • ‘In the distant night, a whisper of sound caught Yuen's attention.’
      • ‘For a while the only sound was the hushed whisper of the passing river.’
      • ‘The tide was just going out, so the whole beach was calm, not even a whisper of a breeze.’
      • ‘There was no sound besides the light whisper of the breeze.’
      • ‘As the Ladies in Waiting gently assisted the queen on to the wharf there was a whisper of sound like the folds of her dress, like the rustle of dry leaves in a soft wind.’
      • ‘It came as silently as a whisper of the wind.’
      • ‘Smiling silently, she listened to the whisper of the wind.’
      • ‘The only sound is the faint whisper of the air-conditioning.’
      rustle, murmur, sigh, moan, sough, whoosh, whir, swish
      babble, burble, purl, lap
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    3. 1.3usually in singular A slight trace; a hint.
      ‘he didn't show even a whisper of interest’
      • ‘She ungrudgingly accepts her fate without a whisper of frustration.’
      • ‘The police believed him without a whisper of doubt.’
      • ‘But I am sorry that, in the name of health, we can be dictated to with scarcely a whisper of protest.’
      • ‘Will a future generation even get a whisper of the political and cultural history that these acres spawned and which defined what is Bombay / Mumbai?’
      • ‘It carries a hint of greed and a whisper of skulduggery.’
      • ‘There was a whisper of TV interest from a ‘major UK network’ today.’
      • ‘I could detect a whisper of mint, incredibly refreshing with the lamb.’
      • ‘What is of interest, however, is that he has suffered barely a whisper of criticism from the left wing media or political classes.’
      • ‘He did after all confess, without a whisper of remorse, to carrying out the bombing.’
      • ‘For all that, however, we have heard not a whisper of apology from those responsible.’
      • ‘I haven't heard a whisper of praise about her from any quarter in at least two years, and with good reason.’
      • ‘They lost by five points and returned home without a whisper of dissent.’
      • ‘One of their airmen had died, yet there wasn't a whisper of regret.’
      • ‘In 2002 DeLay was elected majority leader without a whisper of challenge.’
      • ‘How can you just carry me off like this, depriving me of internet access without even a whisper of warning?’
      • ‘He listened to it late at night, huddled with earphones on and shades drawn, to hear music that brought him a whisper of sanity and took him away from the horrors of his day.’
      • ‘When not a whisper of a reply came I reached out and gently touched her cheek.’
      • ‘This season, he has eight goals in 22 games - better than one in three - and yet there is hardly a whisper of a Fowler resurrection.’
      • ‘A whisper of a smile played on Amy's lips and Rebecca returned it.’
      • ‘A whisper of mystery turns all eyes to the throne.’
      trace, scrap, touch, tinge, hint, suggestion, suspicion, soupçon, whiff, inkling, scintilla, whit, spark, glimmer, flicker, atom, speck, bit, ounce, drop, dash, jot, iota, shred, crumb, morsel, fragment, vestige, grain, spot, mite, modicum
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Origin

Old English hwisprian, of Germanic origin; related to German wispeln, from the imitative base of whistle.

Pronunciation

whisper

/ˈ(h)wɪspər//ˈ(h)wispər/