What Is a Rumor?


A rumor is an unconfirmed statement that can spread rapidly and affect people’s behavior. It has many forms and is widely used in daily life. It can be a political scandal, a personal tragedy, or a simple story about someone who did something unusual or outrageous. It can be difficult to define exactly what a rumor is, with social scientists defining it in various ways. Rumor is considered a subset of propaganda, which is a form of communication that has a specific goal and is designed to influence people’s opinions and actions.

The word rumor is derived from the Middle English phrase “rumour,” which came from the Latin “rumores.” Rumors are often inaccurate and can be spread by anyone. They can be damaging to a person’s reputation, and they can also create panic and fear. For example, rumors about the death of someone close to you can cause you to experience emotional distress. Rumors can be fabricated or unfounded, but they are often passed around because of a desire to hurt someone else.

In addition to the goal of making a person feel embarrassed, ashamed, or embarrassed about something, starting a rumor can be done as a means of revenge or as an attempt to bring down a government. Regardless of the reason for spreading a rumor, it is important to think about your goals before you make one up. Consider how you might get caught if someone tells the rumor back to you and whether it is worth the potential consequences.

It is also important to understand how a rumor is spread. Research shows that a rumor is more likely to be spread when it is related to an issue of public interest. It is also more likely to be spread when it involves a specific person or group of people.

Some rumors are more likely to be believed because they prey on people’s anxieties. For example, rumors about the United States blowing up levees in New Orleans or American soldiers using night-vision goggles to spy on Iraqi women are more likely to be believed because they make people nervous and afraid.

Another reason rumors are so successful is because they can be spread quickly and easily. Some studies suggest that this is because rumors are spread by individuals with similar beliefs. People who share the same belief will be more likely to pass along a rumor, especially when it is about a popular figure or a serious topic.

A recent study found that an individual’s personality has a significant effect on the way they process and recognize a rumor. Those with a radical personality are more likely to believe and spread a rumor, while those with a steady personality are more likely to contemplate and seek confirmation before they act on a rumor. The study suggests that relevant departments should verify a suspected rumor and then publicly announce the results to the public to deter people from acting on it.