Curiosity about gossip seems to center on one question: What “counts” as gossip? Talking about who in Hollywood is heading to the altar? Discussing the odd behavior of a friend at a party? Criticizing a friend's choice of attire? Taking bets on how long a common friend's latest love affair will last? Confiding in a friend about another friend's bizarre eating habits? Discussing news stories about presidential candidates' service records? Mulling over whether one's favorite baseball player uses steroids? This curiosity is not about the definition of gossip per se. It is about categorizing instances of talk about people who are not present in moral terms, innocent talk or sinful slander, purposeful or idle, truth or lies. Not gossip or gossip.

The definition of gossip, for ...

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