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Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does Chinese whispers mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

Chinese whispers


The phrase Chinese whispers refers to any situation where information is passed on from person to person, becoming distorted in the process of transmission. This phrase is mainly used in the UK.

The origin of the 'Chinese whispers'

The phrase 'Chinese whispers' is originally a children's game in which players form a line, and the first player whispers a message to the ear of the second person in the line. This message is transmitted in this way from one player to another. The message that the last player receives is compared to the initial version. The fun comes from the fact that the final version is often distorted from the original one.

In the UK this game used to be called the 'Russian scandal'. In the US, however, it is called 'telephone'.


When information leaks out, it is difficult to beat the dreaded Chinese whispers. No matter how you try, people will always create nuisance and mischief by adding in more detail that suits their purpose and goals.

It is so mean to make up stories about people. The internet is more like an immense Chinese whispers group. Once the information is transmitted, it becomes distorted in the process.

This idiom is in the nationalities category

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