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  #1  
Old 19 October 2007, 10:30 AM
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Default Go sip 'gossip'

Yet another dubious fact from our local intranet silliness-poster. Does anyone know the original site that this stuff comes from?

Quote:
Fact:

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to "go sip some ale" and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. "You go sip here" and "You go sip there." The two words "go sip" were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term "gossip."
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  #2  
Old 19 October 2007, 10:33 AM
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Tarquin Farquart Tarquin Farquart is offline
 
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Read This!

I've never heard that one before, but according to dictionary.com the word originally referred to a godparent. Not sure how the modern usage derives from that...
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  #3  
Old 19 October 2007, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarquin Farquart View Post
I've never heard that one before, but according to dictionary.com the word originally referred to a godparent. Not sure how the modern usage derives from that...
Possibly somewhat like our FOAF Story, but in a family context.
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  #4  
Old 19 October 2007, 12:04 PM
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The 'Shorter Oxford English Dictionary' agrees with the link Tarquin gave (or should that be 'dictionary.com' agrees with the OED?). It comes from the late Old English 'godsibb' meaning 'godfather'. It is also related to the Old Norse word. The 'sibb' part of the word is related (no pun intended) to the word 'sibling'.

The OED also says that 'gossip' can mean a 'chum, friend, acquaintance' and so could the modern meaning of the word come from the talk that these people made?

By the way, English mediaeval Mystery Plays, when showing the story of 'Noah', depict Mrs Noah as been surrounded by her female 'gossips'. She would rather chat idly with them than get on board the ark. Mr Noah then drags her aboard, but her gossips drown in the flood.
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  #5  
Old 19 October 2007, 01:47 PM
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Ieuan ab Arthur Ieuan ab Arthur is offline
 
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Hi All:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
The OED also says that 'gossip' can mean a 'chum, friend, acquaintance' and so could the modern meaning of the word come from the talk that these people made?
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, you're correct.

Quote:
O.E. godsibb "godparent," from God + sibb "relative" (see sibling). Extended in M.E. to "any familiar acquaintance" (1362), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1566). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." The verb meaning "to talk idly about the affairs of others" is from 1627.
Ieuan "I need a sip" ab Arthur
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Old 27 October 2007, 12:24 AM
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Wow, you know if I had taken a random stab or wanted to start a legend of my own I would have suggested the origin may have been something related to 'goose' and the loud honking they make. I would have been way off.
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  #7  
Old 06 August 2008, 01:23 AM
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Yeah, I guess the "go sip" thing is too good to be true.
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  #8  
Old 25 September 2008, 03:22 PM
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My personal turn at folk etymology would have had "gossip" connecting up with "gospel" in some manner (probably by going back to the original "godspell" ("good news")). The notion has an attractive symmetry to it.
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  #9  
Old 25 September 2008, 04:27 PM
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Yeah, that could have been a theory too.
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  #10  
Old 25 September 2008, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
Yeah, I guess the "go sip" thing is too good to be true.
I always wonder why 99% of these word origin facts cite the origin of the modern word as a derivation or combination of two other modern words. For example, gossip=go+sip... Come on, I seriously doubt that's how words typically evolve. Even worse when they tack on leading explanations like 'back in the day there was no tv radio etcetera so we did this thing called go-sipping to find out people's opinions on things in pubs. Really, is that the beast way to get accurate opinions about people, by interviewing them when they are drinking?
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  #11  
Old 25 September 2008, 05:51 PM
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Word Detective (see about 2/3 of the way down the page) confirms what Ieuan ab Arthur says, and additionally specifically addresses the contents of the OP.
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  #12  
Old 26 September 2008, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
I always wonder why 99% of these word origin facts cite the origin of the modern word as a derivation or combination of two other modern words. For example, gossip=go+sip... Come on, I seriously doubt that's how words typically evolve. Even worse when they tack on leading explanations like 'back in the day there was no tv radio etcetera so we did this thing called go-sipping to find out people's opinions on things in pubs. Really, is that the beast way to get accurate opinions about people, by interviewing them when they are drinking?
And let's not forget the ones, where they claim that a word comes from an old acronym, for example that "drag" (as in when a man wears women's clothes) would have come from "Dressed As Girl". Most of these claims aren't true, but it's still fun to read about them.
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  #13  
Old 26 September 2008, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
Really, is that the beast way to get accurate opinions about people, by interviewing them when they are drinking?
Why not? Think of the old saying "In vino veritas".
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  #14  
Old 26 September 2008, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
And let's not forget the ones, where they claim that a word comes from an old acronym, for example that "drag" (as in when a man wears women's clothes) would have come from "Dressed As Girl". Most of these claims aren't true, but it's still fun to read about them.
Thats arguably because the stories tend to write themselves once you work them out. Its very easy to come up with a plausible sounding story around gossip=go+sip. I agree, a good story does not make them true - the stories can practically be invented very easilly.
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