The Definition of Rumor


A rumor is a story that is based on unverified information. It may be true or false. Rumors are usually associated with events or people. The word rumor is derived from the Latin word rumorem, meaning “noise”. The definition of a rumor can differ depending on its context.

Rumors can range in subject matter from rumors about an affair to rumors about weapons of mass destruction. They can also be vague and appeal to different audiences and circulate in different ways. Harsin builds on social cognition to distinguish rumors from gossip. In this way, she explains that rumors can have many different origins, from misinformation to outright deception.

Rumors are common in all cultures and types of people. Researchers have studied the different kinds of rumors and defined four major categories. Among them are those that invoke hoped-for consequences or those that are feared or disappointing. The researchers have also defined the fine distinctions within these categories. Rumors tend to be more likely to spread if they are spread by anxious people.

There is a four-stage pattern for the development of a rumor. The first stage is the introduction of the rumor. During this stage, information is volunteered and discussed. In the second stage, the rumor has reached the stage where it begins to gain ground. Ultimately, a rumor can become a powerful weapon in the hands of a skilled individual.

The first modern scholarly definition of rumour was created by Louis William Stern, a German social scientist. In 1902, Stern studied rumours by setting up “chains of subjects” that passed a story from mouth to ear without explanation or correction. Another pioneer in the field was Gordon Allport.

Rumors are a type of myth and a type of informal social communication. They may include current humour, myth, or legend. Because they are topical, rumours encourage a person to believe in them. While they are often unfounded, they can still ruin a person’s reputation.

Rumors often originate in social situations that cause an individual to feel bad about themselves. This leads them to gossip about other people in an attempt to gain attention. Peer pressure is also a factor. If a teenager sees other people gossiping about another person, they may feel compelled to do the same.