/hwis"peuhr, wis"peuhr/, v.i.1. to speak with soft, hushed sounds, using the breath, lips, etc., but with no vibration of the vocal cords.2. Phonet. to produce utterance substituting breath for phonation.3. to talk softly and privately (often implying gossip, slander, plotting, or the like): The king knew that the courtiers were whispering.4. (of trees, water, breezes, etc.) to make a soft, rustling sound like that of whispering.v.t.5. to utter with soft, low sounds, using the breath, lips, etc.: He whispered endearments to her.6. Phonet. to utter (speech sounds) substituting breath for phonation.7. to say or tell in a whisper; tell privately.8. to speak to or tell (a person) in a whisper or privately.n.9. the mode of utterance, or the voice, of a person who whispers: to speak in a whisper.10. a word or remark uttered by whispering.11. a rumor or insinuation: Whispers circulated about the affair.12. a soft, rustling sound like a whisper: the whisper of leaves in the wind.[bef. 950; ME whisperen (v.), OE hwisprian; c. G wispern; akin to ON hviskra to whisper, hvisla to whistle. See WHINE]
* * *▪ speechspeech in which the vocal cords are held rigid, preventing the vibration that produces normal sounds. In whispering, voiceless sounds are produced as usual; but voiced sounds (e.g., vowels) are produced by forcing air through a narrow glottal opening formed by holding the vocal cords rigid and close together. See also voice; vocal fry.
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