Difference Between Gossip and Rumor

Key Difference – Gossip vs Rumor
 

Gossip and rumor refer to two types of unofficial information gained through the day to day conversations among people between which some difference can be identified. When people meet friends or talk to their colleagues, they often engage in conversations that involve others. They discuss the lives of others, new events, developments in relationships, etc. These refer to gossip; simply gossip can be defined as casual talk about other people. Rumor, however, is a bit different to gossips. A rumor refers to a story spread among a number of people which is unconfirmed or maybe false. This is the key difference between the two. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two in detail.

What is Gossip?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, gossip can be defined as casual talk about other people. This act of engaging in gossip is referred to as gossiping. Gossiping entails discussing or talking about other people’s personal lives. These are mostly general information that are discussed without a motive to harm any individual. Let us comprehend this through an example. You meet an old school friend after many years. Other than talking about the developments in your lives, you gossip about the personal lives of others who were in your school. This can include who got married recently, who got divorced, who just got promoted or had a baby, etc. Gossiping is a way of sharing information with others. However, it is vital to highlight that what people hear through gossiping may not always be true. This can then lead to serious misunderstandings among people.

One of the key characteristics of gossip is that it involves disapproving a person’s behavior or a particular act. In the society, we meet people who are always gossiping about others, this is often viewed as a negative practice as most people consider it a form of intrusion.

Difference Between Gossip and Rumor

Now let us move on to rumors to understand the difference.

What is Rumor?

A rumor refers to a story spread among a number of people which is unconfirmed or maybe false. This idea of the rumor is addressed or spoken of in various social sciences. A rumor can either be misinformation, or it can even be deliberate false information created with the intention of misleading an individual or a group of people. In this sense, it is a result of propaganda.

A key difference between a gossip and a rumor is that while a gossip mostly involves very personal details of an individual, a rumor does not always capture this particular dimension. It is true that a rumor can apply to an individual, but it can also apply to a larger context such as the economy or politics. In most scenarios a rumor is spread with a clear intention to cause harm, this characteristic cannot be seen in a gossip. This highlights that one should not confuse gossip with rumor and the vice versa.

Key Difference - Gossip vs Rumor

Now let us summarize the difference between the two.

What is the Difference Between Gossip and Rumor?

Definitions of Gossip and Rumor:

Gossip: Gossip refers to casual talk about other people.

Rumor: A rumor refers to a story spread among a number of people which is unconfirmed or maybe false.

Characteristics of Gossip and Rumor:

Type of information:

Gossip: Gossip usually involves information of the personal lives of people.

Rumor: Rumor involves all types of information ranging from the individual to politics, economy, or even current affairs.

Motive:

Gossip: The individual has no specific motive, but merely gossips.

Rumor: The individual has a clear motive to harm another.

Nature of information:

Gossip: The information is general.

Rumor: The information is very precise.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. The Friendly Gossips By Eugene de Blaas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2. “Germany Sindelfingen Gossips” by Rebecca Kennison – Treball propi. [CC BY 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons