Is speaking ill of someone always gossip?


I went to confession this morning, and as part of the confession the priest asked me if I had been gossiping at all. I said no, but immediately afterwards began reconsidering. Just this morning I had spoken ill of an old professor. However, in reading through some stuff on gossip / calumny / detraction / etc., I’m questioning if speaking ill of someone is gossip.

I’m going to give the example of the conversation I had this morning, and I’d apprecciate feedback.

A coworker was talking about one of his professors who had caused him to spend an excessive amount of money as part of a project. (Architecture school, we build models, it can be expensive.) She had had him rebuild his model three times because she thought it would look good in another wood type. He then related that she had been fired after they went to the school about it.

I followed up by talking about a professor in my school (no name given), whom nobody liked, but who we couldn’t get rid of because she was married to the head of the school. I also said that she really had no business teaching a class.

Is what I said gossip? I’m genuinely unsure. It could be said that it hurt her reputation, but no one in my firm knows her, and I didn’t give her name.

(I guess I’m looking for a bit more clarification as to what constitutes gossip.)


Your friend was just conveying mostly facts about the expenditure and subsequent firing. Of course, unless there’s actual proof that the reporting to the school led to the firing then that is subjective. What you said on the other hand I would consider gossip. You probably have no proof of your claim although it could be true, but you also had no real reason to talk about your professor other than trying to stay relevant in the conversation. Just my thoughts.


Master the eye roll when nobody is looking it’s really helpful lol


Thanks for the input all. I’ll be sure to include this and similar events in my next confession.


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