Rumor is an unverified story that spreads from person to person in a community by word of mouth. It can have a major impact on people because it can change their behavior for good or for bad such as encouraging riots. Rumor can also be a source of information for the public that they would not get otherwise.
The word rumor comes from the Middle English word rumour which means common talk. It is an unsubstantiated and often false story that spreads rapidly among a group of people through the word of mouth. A rumor is usually a piece of gossip that starts out being true, but as it is passed from one person to the next it becomes more and more untrue because the teller may forget some of the details or even change the entire story.
Some rumors, like those about celebrities for example, are spread because the teller is jealous of the target and hopes to bring down their image. Other rumors, such as those about a disease or death, are spread to scare or make people more anxious. The fact that a rumor makes people scared or worried increases its chances of being passed on.
Researchers have studied the phenomenon of rumor and have come up with several theories as to why some rumors spread and others do not. Some of the reasons include cognitive mechanisms such as narrowing of attention, limits to memory, and perceptual biases. Motivational factors such as fact-finding and relationship-enhancement motives are also at play. People who serially transmit a rumor tend to pass on parts of the rumor that are consistent with stereotypes because this type of information is easier to process.
A good way to stop a rumor is to start it with a friend that you trust and tell them not to pass it on. This will ensure that if the rumor gets back to you, it will not be as damaging. If a rumor does get back to you, then it will help to deny it and point out that the rumor came from someone else.
People often confuse the words rumor and rumour because they have different spellings. The American spelling is rumor, while the British spelling is rumour. This confusion can cause frustration for many people who are trying to use the English language. It is important to understand the difference between the two words because if you are confused about their spelling, then you will likely be confused about the meanings as well. This confusion can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings that could potentially have serious consequences.