Definition of whisper in English:



  • 1[reporting verb] Speak very softly using one's breath rather than one's throat, especially for the sake of secrecy.

    [no object] ‘Alison was whispering in his ear’
    [with object] ‘he managed to whisper a faint goodbye’
    [with direct speech] ‘‘Are you all right?’ he whispered’
    • ‘On the second day she whispered when she spoke, not wanting to wake her.’
    • ‘As she lay dying she managed to whisper a description of her attacker to the detective who found her.’
    • ‘I swallowed the lump that had gathered in my throat and whispered the words back.’
    • ‘She kneeled down next to him, clutched his throat and whispered a severe warning to him.’
    • ‘He wanted to speak beautiful words, whispering sonnets of his own design into her ear.’
    • ‘The sergeant managed to whisper something in Leila's ear that was faint to both Daniel's and Lance's own hearing.’
    • ‘I tried to whisper something under my breath but the teacher heard me and asked what I said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So I just whisper it under my breath instead, which works out fine.’
    • ‘A blond girl giggled softly as a boy whispered into her ear, his arm around her shoulders.’
    • ‘Other diners are dotted around, whispering in conversation in reverence to the food.’
    • ‘His eyes dart around and he whispers as he speaks as if what he's telling me is top secret.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Struggling for a last breath, he whispered the first thing that came to his mind.’
    • ‘She can speak English but prefers to whisper in my ear rather than talking out loud in the noisy bar area.’
    • ‘Finally, Martin managed to whisper in my ear that he loved me and boarded the plane.’
    • ‘Sam managed to whisper in his ear before she felt she would be taken over by tears again.’
    • ‘He barely managed to whisper his response into the receiver.’
    • ‘I practically whispered, my throat constricting and my eyes bright with unshed tears.’
    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 rumoured.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2literary (of leaves, wind, or water) rustle or murmur softly.
      • ‘It was really there, a wind that whispered to him like a lone siren singing her song.’
      • ‘The breeze whispered through the trees and swept Cat's long hair back from her face.’
      • ‘A cool wind was rising, causing the leaves to whisper against each other, their glossy darkness shimmering.’
      • ‘Roots burrow under my feet and leaves whisper to each other from opposite sides of the valley.’
      • ‘She felt like the wind whispering through the trees, but was nothing more than a shadow.’
      • ‘Everything looked pale gray in the moonlight, and a slight breeze made the grasses whisper around me.’
      • ‘The wind was whispering quietly in the trees, which were illuminated by a half hidden full moon.’
      • ‘The wind whispered through her hair and brought back memories of the day she met Connor.’
      • ‘The waves pounded below, and the wind whispered in from the ocean, jostling the lone pine that grew stunted from the rocky soil.’
      • ‘The sun was now below the horizon and the evening breeze whispered around me.’
      • ‘The wind made the trees sway and whisper their stories.’
      • ‘Just as a lonely boat drifted into the next bay, the wind whispered softly in her ear…’
      • ‘The wind whispered through the trees, calling out to her in words.’
      • ‘She listened to the soft calling of the birds and the wind whispering through the trees.’
      • ‘The birds were singing and even the soft breeze whispered in his ears, all helping to make the discomforting dream fade away.’
      • ‘Melina's horse walked on the path as all around her the forest whispered with the wind.’
      • ‘I feel like growling, packing a bag and heading for a remote desert island where only the wind bothers to whisper.’
      • ‘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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  • 1A soft or confidential tone of voice; a whispered word or phrase.

    ‘she spoke in a whisper’
    • ‘During the last few words, Nathan's voice dropped to 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then she too heard it, the snapping of a twig, and the whispers of voices.’
    • ‘Tall and owl-eyed, he speaks in a voice barely above a whisper at his spacious flat in a bourgeois neighbourhood of Rome.’
    • ‘His voice was a whisper, the words forced out in one breath.’
    • ‘His voice was but a whisper and my recovering ears just registered the word.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In a voice soft as a whisper, fine as silk, and barely recognizable, she asked, ‘Is it a trick?’’
    • ‘A friend suggests, ‘When you feel like shouting, drop your voice to a whisper.’’
    • ‘Geraldine's tone of voice lowered to a whisper.’
    • ‘Then I heard whispers and lowered voices and then footsteps.’
    • ‘‘I would never hurt you, Cole,’ he said again, his voice barely a whisper.’
    • ‘‘I suffered with the people,’ she said, her voice sinking to a whisper.’
    • ‘Juliet replied, her voice softer than a whisper.’
    • ‘She kept hearing soft voices and whispers in her mind.’
    • ‘‘Oh my word,’ she gasped, her voice barely a whisper.’
    • ‘I know something unpleasant happened to her, but I was only a small child and when I was around adult voices turned into whispers.’
    murmur, mutter, mumble, low voice, hushed tone, undertone
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    1. 1.1A rumour or piece of gossip.
      ‘whispers of a blossoming romance’
      • ‘Nevertheless, there have been whispers of scandal.’
      • ‘Rumours and whispers were circulating last night that he had been on an all day bender since 7am that morning!’
      • ‘So, once again, we're into the world of whispers and sources, rumours, winks and knowing nods.’
      • ‘So there are hints, whispers, rumours, emails and questions but, significantly, no answers.’
      • ‘There was a rumour, a whisper, of a deeper malaise in the state.’
      • ‘It was just whispers at first, reminiscent of those early rumours that eventually coalesced into the late-lamented National Post.’
      • ‘Already depressed about his marriage, the whispers and false rumours saw Temple plunge into despair, and ultimately suicide.’
      • ‘Downstairs, the servants are closer to the underbelly of society, the whispers and the rumours.’
      • ‘The game was evenly poised and the stand was full of rumours and whispers of the developing situation at Mansfield Park.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Everywhere she walked, she was accompanied by rumours and whispers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘None of the allegations, hints and whispers lead anywhere.’
      • ‘He added: ‘There have been rumours and whispers, but I can say there will be no pay and display parking in Radcliffe.’’
      • ‘And yet, there are hints and whispers of a brave new phenomenon in the modelling industry.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘They existed as unsung heroes, their deeds of chivalry no more than whispers and rumours among the populace.’
      • ‘The hints and whispers pointed ever more to Kelly, who friends say believed his name would be kept out of the row.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘There was no sound besides the light whisper of the breeze.’
      • ‘The only sound inside was the soft whisper of dust against the shields.’
      • ‘The tide was just going out, so the whole beach was calm, not even a whisper of a breeze.’
      • ‘The only sound is the faint whisper of the air-conditioning.’
      • ‘For a while the only sound was the hushed whisper of the passing river.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Smiling silently, she listened to the whisper of the wind.’
      • ‘It came as silently as a whisper of the wind.’
      babble, burble, purl, lap
      rustle, murmur, sigh, moan, sough, whoosh, whir, swish
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    3. 1.3[usually in singular]A slight trace; a hint.
      ‘he didn't show even a whisper of interest’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When not a whisper of a reply came I reached out and gently touched her cheek.’
      • ‘A whisper of mystery turns all eyes to the throne.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How can you just carry me off like this, depriving me of internet access without even a whisper of warning?’
      • ‘A whisper of a smile played on Amy's lips and Rebecca returned it.’
      • ‘She ungrudgingly accepts her fate without a whisper of frustration.’
      • ‘In 2002 DeLay was elected majority leader without a whisper of challenge.’
      • ‘It carries a hint of greed and a whisper of skulduggery.’
      • ‘They lost by five points and returned home without a whisper of dissent.’
      • ‘There was a whisper of TV interest from a ‘major UK network’ today.’
      • ‘But I am sorry that, in the name of health, we can be dictated to with scarcely a whisper of protest.’
      • ‘I haven't heard a whisper of praise about her from any quarter in at least two years, and with good reason.’
      • ‘The police believed him without a whisper of doubt.’
      • ‘I could detect a whisper of mint, incredibly refreshing with the lamb.’
      • ‘One of their airmen had died, yet there wasn't a whisper of regret.’
      • ‘For all that, however, we have heard not a whisper of apology from those responsible.’


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