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See: hearsay, spread

RUMOR. A general public report of certain things, without any certainty as to their truth.
     2. In general, rumor cannot be received in evidence, but when the question is whether such rumor existed, and not its truth or falsehood, then evidence of it may be given.

References in classic literature ?
It usually happens that a man is ignorant of rumors that are afloat about him.
The rumor of Edmond arrest as a Bonapartist agent was not slow in circulating throughout the city.
The tall soldier felt called upon to defend the truth of a rumor he himself had intro- duced.
Then Monsieur de Beaufort, who was so familiar with the interior of the Palais Royal, though he did not know the relations existing between the queen and the cardinal, pictured to himself, in his prison, all that dramatic excitement which would ensue when the rumor should run from the minister's cabinet to the chamber of Anne of Austria: "Monsieur de Beaufort has escaped
At length a rumor reached our shores that the Prince of Orange had ventured on an enterprise, the success of which would be the triumph of civil and religious rights and the salvation of New England.
About this time there went a rumor throughout the valley, that the great man, foretold from ages long ago, who was to bear a resemblance to the Great Stone Face, had appeared at last.
Among the rest, a mariner affirmed, that, many years before, in a distant country, he had heard a rumor about a white bull, which came swimming across the sea with a child on his back, dressed up in flowers that were blighted by the sea water.
As the rumor that a "three-figure" pocket- handkerchief was to be at the ball, had preceded my appearance, a general buzz announced my arrival in the salle a manger-salons.
While all the gossip world was thus filled with talk and rumor, poor Wolfert lay sick and sorrowfully in his bed, bruised in body and sorely beaten down in mind.
My cognizance of the pit had become known to the inquisitorial agents -- the pit whose horrors had been destined for so bold a recusant as myself -- the pit, typical of hell, and regarded by rumor as the Ultima Thule of all their punishments.
The many tongues of rumor were busy in exaggerating the miraculous escape of Elizabeth; and a report was generally credited, that Mohegan had actually perished in the flames.
From time to time a fresh report, or a distant rumor, made the heads oscillate and thousands of eyes flash.