Thursday, January 13, 2011


Kelly asked about the word hearsay. It’s apparent that it is the conjunction of two words, hear and say. In colloquial use, hear sometimes precedes (and is combined with) the verbs speak, talk, and tell.

There’ll be a time I hear tell

When all will be well

When God and man will be reconciled

But until men lose their chains

And righteousness reigns

Lord, protect my child

Bob Dylan

Hearsay refers to information that one has heard someone else say—in others words, a case of secondary oral transmission. The word usually carries the implication that what one has heard may not be reliable, that it should be treated as rumor. Thus, it is often expressed as mere hearsay or only hearsay.

Generally speaking , hearsay evidence is not admissible in a court of law, but many exceptions are listed in the sidebar below.

SIDEBAR: Hearsay Evidence [See Rules 802-807]

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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