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the etymology of "gossip"

Anne Dalke's picture

turns out to be quite eminent!

late Old English godsibb ‘godfather, godmother, baptismal sponsor,’ literally ‘a person related to one in God,’ from god ‘God’ + sibb ‘a relative’ (see sib). In Middle English the sense was ‘a close friend, a person with whom one gossips,’ hence ‘a person who gossips,’ later (early 19th century) ‘idle talk’ (from the verb, which dates from the early 17th century).


m r r's picture

Thanks for looking into this! I was hesitant to write my thoughts on my previous post using the word "gossip" because I understand how stinging the word can ring in some's ears.  Interesting to see how the word developed and is used.