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quotations about gossip

Gossip quote

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

OSCAR WILDE, The Picture of Dorian Gray

I mind conscious of its own rectitude fears not what is said of it, but will bid defiance to and despise shafts that are not barbed with accusations against honor or integrity.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Gouverneur Morris, Jan. 28, 1792

To speak evil of any one, unless there is unequivocal proofs of their deserving it, is an injury for which there is no adequate reparation.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to George Washington Parke Custis, Nov. 28, 1796

Even the absurdest report may in nearly every instance be traced to an actual occurrence; and had there been no such actual occurrence, this preposterous misrepresentation of it would never have existed. Though the distorted or magnified image transmitted to us through the refracting medium of rumour, is utterly unlike the reality; yet in the absence of the reality there would have been no distorted or magnified image.

HERBERT SPENCER, First Principles

Gossip has been described as halitosis of the mind.

CROFT M. PENTZ, The Complete Book of Zingers

Gossip is putting two and two together, and making it five.

IVAN PANIN, Thoughts

Those base men who speak of the secret faults of others, destroy themselves like the serpents in ant-hills.

CHANAKYA, Vridda-Chanakya

As to people saying a few idle words about us, we must not mind that, any more than the old church steeple minds the rooks cawing about it.


The uniform tenor of a man's life furnishes better evidence of what he has said or done on any particular occasion than the word of any enemy.

THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to De Witt Clinton, Dec. 31, 1803

People everywhere are about the same, but ... it did seem that in a small town, where evil is harder to accomplish, where opportunities for privacy are scarcer, that people can invent more of it in other people's names. Because that was all it required: that idea, that single idle word blown from mind to mind.


A gossiper is the devil's postman.

CROFT M. PENTZ, The Complete Book of Zingers

Oh yeah, gossip. I heard you on the secret wireless. You know the devil's radio child.

GEORGE HARRISON, "Devil's Radio"

Gossip is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress.

A cruel story runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run.

OUIDA, Wisdom, Wit and Pathos

Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid.

WALTER WINCHELL, attributed, The Concise Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

Gossip is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress.

LIZ SMITH, Natural Blonde

Gossip isn't scandal, and it's not merely malicious. It's chatter about the human race by lovers of the same.

PHYLLIS MCGINLEY, "A New Year and No Resolutions," Woman's Home Companion, Jan. 1957

Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco pipes of those who diffuse it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

The widespread interest in gossip is inspired, not by a love of knowledge but by malice: no one gossips about other people's secret virtues, but only about their secret vices. Accordingly most gossip is untrue, but care is taken not to verify it. Our neighbour's sins, like the consolations of religion, are so agreeable that we do not stop to scrutinise the evidence closely.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, On Education, Especially in Early Childhood

All literature is gossip.

TRUMAN CAPOTE, Playboy interview, 1976

Even that thing which is universally decried, which no one would dream of defending--gossip--has itself, whether it is aimed at ourselves and thus becomes especially disagreeable to us, or whether it tells us something about a third person of which we were unaware, a certain psychological value. It prevents the mind from falling asleep over the factitious view which it has of what it imagines things to be and which is actually no more than their outward appearance. It turns this appearance inside out with the magic dexterity of an idealist philosopher and rapidly presents to our gaze an unsuspected corner of the reverse side of the fabric.

MARCEL PROUST, Sodom and Gomorrah

Read Richard Le Gallienne's essay: The Psychology of Gossip


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