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Related to rumors: Snopes
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 ?
Latterly, there were rumors (which few believed, and only one or two felt greatly interested in) that this long-buried man was likely, for some reason or other, to be summoned forth from his living tomb.
It is high time now to spread a rumor of my marriage with Mademoiselle Cormon.
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.
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.
Well; you have heard, of course, the many stories current - the thousand vague rumors afloat about money buried, somewhere upon the Atlantic coast, by Kidd and his associates.
And now, as I still continued to step cautiously onward, there came thronging upon my recollection a thousand vague rumors of the horrors of Toledo.
I certainly have heard many rumors of the existence of mines in these hills: and I do believe that I have seen specimens of the precious metals that have been found here.
Other absurd rumors there be, not worth talking about or listening to.
Indian legends would alone have been my guide, for I found that rumors of a strange land were common among all the riverine tribes.
This,' said he, taking a gray roll of paper from his bureau, 'is the original of that secret treaty between England and Italy of which, I regret to say, some rumors have already got into the public press.
Over a year had elapsed since they had set out to explore the northern hemisphere in search of Carthoris, and at last their disheartened people had accepted as truth the vague rumors of their death that had filtered in from the frozen region of the pole.