• To speak softly, or under the breath, so as to be heard only by one near at hand; to utter words without sonant breath; to talk without that vibration in the larynx which gives sonorous, or vocal, sound.
  • To mention privately and confidentially, or in a whisper.
  • To make a low, sibilant sound.
  • To speak with suspicion or timorous caution; to converse in whispers, as in secret plotting.
  • To address in a whisper, or low voice.
  • To prompt secretly or cautiously; to inform privately.


  • From Middle English whisperen, from Old English hwisprian ("to mutter, murmur, whisper"), from Proto-West Germanic *hwisprōn, from Proto-Germanic *hwisprōną ("to hiss, whistle, whisper"), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱweys-, *ḱwey-. Cognate with Dutch wisperen ("to whisper"), German wispern ("to mumble, whisper"). Related also to Danish hviske ("to whisper"), Icelandic hvískra ("to whisper"), Norwegian Bokmål hviske, kviskre, Norwegian Nynorsk kviskre, kviskra, Swedish viska ("to whisper"). More at English whistle.

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