Trivia

Origins of Common Words - Gossip

About the history, origins, and definitions of the common word gossip.

UNCOMMON STORIES BEHIND COMMON WORDS

Gossip - In merry old England, a godsib was a godparent of either sex, sib being the Anglo-Saxon word for "kinsman." When godsibs were together, particularly female ones, no doubt a fair share of idle talk occurred, and the word soon lost its d and its religious context and acquired the meaning of one with whom one chats intimately. By Shakespeare's time one's gossips were also those close friends who attended one in childbirth (during which there was generally ample time for tittle-tattle). Not until the 19th century was idle conversation itself termed "gossip."

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