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Friday, December 4, 2015



Etymology:  subst. use of phrase to hear say : see hear v. 3b.
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  a. That which one hears or has heard some one say; information received by word of mouth, usually with implication that it is not trustworthy; oral tidings; report, tradition, rumour, common talk, gossip.?1533   G. Du Wes Introductorie for to lerne Frenche sig. Eeiv,   I knowe nothyng of it but by here say.
1556   N. Grimald tr. Cicero Thre Bks. Duties i. f. 13v,   I haue nothing, but by hearesaye.
1577   E. Hellowes tr. A. de Guevara Chron. 315   Thou speakest by heare~saye, rather then by anye experience.
1577   W. Harrison Descr. Eng. (1877) ii. ix. i. 199   So much as I have gathered by report and common heare-saie.
1590   R. Harvey Plaine Percevall sig. C2,   Heresay is too slender an euidence to spit a mans credit vpon.
1600   P. Holland tr. Livy Rom. Hist. xxxix. vi. 1026   Things..which by bare heeresay were reported to haue beene done.
1631   W. Gouge Gods Three Arrowes v. vii. 417   The whole world was made to tremble at the heare-say of them.
1642   D. Rogers Naaman 117   The hearsay of Christ wrought all these things in them.
a1708   W. Beveridge Thes. Theologicus (1710) II. 298   Not meerly upon hearsay or tradition.
1761   Gilbert's Law Evidence 112   Hearsay is good evidence to prove, who is my grandfather, when he married, what children he had, etc. of which it is not reasonable to presume that I have better evidence.
1769   W. Draper in ‘Junius’ Stat Nominis Umbra (1772) I. xxvi. 189   Is it hearsay; or the evidence of letters, or ocular?
1847   G. P. R. James John Marston Hall ix,   I gave him stronger proof than mere hearsay.
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  b. With a and pl. A report received; a rumour, a piece of gossip.a1642   W. Monson Naval Tracts (1704) iv. 428/1   This Report seems to be a Hearsay of a second Person.
1699   R. Bentley Diss. Epist. Phalaris (new ed.) Introd. 7,   I am asham'd to see a Person..tell such little Stories and Hear says.
1730   G. Berkeley Let. 7 May in Wks. (1871) IV. 183   A hearsay, at second or third hand.
1841   T. Carlyle On Heroes i. 12   Wrappage of traditions, hearsays, mere words.
1847   H. W. Longfellow Evangeline ii. i. 33   Sometimes a rumour, a hearsay..came.
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  a. attrib., passing on one side into an adj., on the other giving rise to combinations:  (a) Of the nature of hearsay;  (b) founded or depending upon what one has heard said, but not within one's direct knowledge, ashearsay account, hearsay censure, hearsay declaration, hearsay knowledge, hearsay report, hearsay rumour, hearsay tale;  (c) of hearsay, speaking from hearsay, as hearsay author,hearsay babbler, hearsay witness, †hearsay-man.a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1593) i. sig. H3,   [Those] Whose metall stiff he knew he could not bende With hear-say, pictures or a window looke.
1602   R. Carew Surv. Cornwall i. f. 18v,   I can in these Tynne cases, plead but a hearesay experience.
1646   Sir T. Browne Pseudodoxia Epidemica iii. xxv. 171   An hearsay account by Bellonius.
1683   T. Tryon Way to Health 361   These Hear~say-men or Book-Philosophers, called, The Learned, are as ignorant as any..of the true knowledge of God in them~selves.
1738   T. Birch Life Milton App., in Milton Wks. I. 94   All the Evidence was two hear-say Depositions taken in 1642, from Persons who were told so by the common Soldiers of the Irish.
1787   M. Cutler Jrnl. 13 July in W. P. Cutler & J. P. Cutler Life, Jrnls. & Corr. M. Cutler (1888) I. 254   We had both of us an hearsay knowledge of each other.
1814   T. Chalmers Evid. Christian Revel. i. 44   The report of hearsay witnesses.
1816   S. W. Singer Researches Hist. Playing Cards 149   To promulgate hearsay reports.
1826   in Sheridaniana 315   The crude opinions of the hearsay babbler.
1859   Tennyson Vivien 800 in Idylls of King   She blamed herself for telling hearsay tales.
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  b.   hearsay evidence  n. evidence consisting in what the witness has heard others say, or what is commonly said, as to facts of which he has himself no original or personal knowledge.1753   W. Stewart in Scots Mag. Mar. 135/1   Hearsay-evidence is..rejected in law.
1768   W. Blackstone Comm. Laws Eng. iii. (1800) xxiii. 368   Yet in some cases (as in proof of any general customs, or matters of common tradition or repute) the courts admit of hearsay evidence.
1848   J. J. S. Wharton Law Lexicon at Hearsay Evidence,   The exceptions to the general rule of the inadmissibility of hearsay evidence are..(1) dying declarations; (2) hearsay in questions of pedigree; (3) hearsay on questions of public right, customs, boundaries, [etc.].
1878   W. E. H. Lecky Hist. Eng. 18th Cent. II. vi. 148   Hear~say evidence of the loosest kind was freely admitted.
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   ˈhearsay  v. (nonce-wd.) (intr.) to tell what one has heard; to repeat rumours.1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. III. vi. vii. 391   Men riding and running, reporting and hearsaying.
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† hear-saying  n. (in 4 hyere zigginge) Obs. hearsay, report = hearing say at hear v. 3c.1340   Ayenbite (1866) 117   He ne may noþing wel conne bote ase me kan þe batayle of troye be hyere-zigginge.

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