15 Phrases Like “Heard Through the Grapevine”

Grapevine gossips and chatty Cathys!

Are you tired of using the same old phrases over and over again? Have you been caught in a conversation rut, always falling back on “heard through the grapevine” as your go-to gossip starter?

Of course, the idiom effectively expresses the idea of hearing news from someone who heard news from someone else. But what if you need an alternative phrase?

Some of the best alternative phrases to use for “heard through the grapevine” include “word on the street,” “rumor has it,” “buzz in the air,” “chatterbox says,” “according to scuttlebutt,” and “whispers in the wind.” These phrases convey a similar idea of receiving information informally.

In the rest of this article, I’ve gathered a juicy list of alternative phrases to keep your conversations fresh and spice up your everyday chitchat.

But first, we have to be on the same page about the actual meaning of the idiomatic expression.

What does “heard through the grapevine” mean?

Phrases Like Heard Through the Grapevine

“Heard Through the Grapevine” is an idiomatic expression you use to communicate information from an unverified source.

The right usage of this expression is when you intend to say something that is rumored, which has a chance of being false or true.

The origin of this phrase is interesting. The idiomatic expression comes from the times of the American Civil War. At that period, rumors were often spread via telegraph lines.

When asked whether a particular story was true, they often replied, ‘I heard it through the grapevine’.

Since then, “heard it through the grapevine” has been a figurative expression to underline such a situation. And now, it is becoming overused.

Here are other interesting alternative phrases like “heard through the grapevine.”

15 phrases like “heard through the grapevine.”

To be clear, the best replacement for the phrase “heard through the grapevine,” especially when writing, has to convey the idea of hearing rumors about something, hearing some news from someone who heard it from someone else, or learning something informally, usually verbally.

Here are the best substitutes:

Phrases Like Heard Through the Grapevine

1. Rumor has it…

“Rumor has it” is one of the common synonyms for the idiomatic phrase “heard from the grapevine,” as they both mean the same idea.

Hearing from the grapevine is a metaphorical expression suggesting that you heard something rumored.

So, you can use this alternative phrase to drive home the same meaning. It is the best option when communicating in a formal environment or setting where “heard from the grapevine” may not be understood by everyone.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that there would be an industrial strike next week.
  • Rumor has it that there will be an industrial strike next week.

2. The word on the street

“Word on the street” is another popular idiom. You use it when you convey information that has no official or verifiable source but has become an open secret to the public.

This directly ties in with the meaning of “heard through the grapevine” hence it is a perfect substitute for the latter.

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For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that the couple is getting a divorce.
  • Words on the street are that the celebrity couple is getting a divorce.

3. Word has it…

Instead of repeatedly saying “heard through the grapevine,” which may not be comprehensive for every listener or reader, you can use “word has it that…” since both phrases pretty much mean the same thing.

“Word” in this phrase means information stemming from gossip or speculation from the public that may or may not be true – just as you have it with “heard through the grapevine.”

For example:

  • The team is buying a new striker. Heard from the grapevine.
  • Word has it that the team is buying a new striker.

4. Heard it in the wind

The application of “heard it on the wind” to replace “heard through the grapevine” slightly strays from the message but is an excellent alternative.

“Heard it on the wind” is also an idiomatic expression, but the grammatical application in the sentence is to say the information is in the wind.

Generally, it means people are talking about it, and it may happen, but no one is sure.

  • I heard through the grapevine that a group is planning to topple the government
  • Plans to topple the government are in the wind.

5. A little bird told me

“A little bird told me” is another phrase you can use to replace “heard through the grapevine,” especially when you’re intent on not revealing the source of your information.

“Heard through the grapevine” is often used to indicate that you know something but choose to keep the identity of your informant secret.

If this is the context of the usage, then “a little bird told me” is the best alternative.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that The company will lay off 50% of workers next month.
  • A little bird told me the company will lay off 50% of workers next month.

Phrases Like Heard Through the Grapevine

6. The scuttlebutt has it

Scuttlebutt is another word (read: slag) for gossip.

This alternative phrase is best used when the information you convey may or may not be true.

The origin of this particular idiom stems from the nautical term for the cask used to serve water A Navy scuttlebutt.

It is a rather popular phrase similar to “heard through the grapevine”; chances are, you’ve heard it being used before.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that the new boss is involved in an intimate scandal.
  • The scuttlebutt has it that the new boss is involved in an intimate scandal.

7. The rumor mill

“The rumor mill” means when rumors and gossip originate and circulate among a group of people.

So it directly connects with the message of “hearing through the grapevine” because, in this light, no information is 100% verified.

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For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that they’re getting a divorce.
  • The rumor mill has been churning out reports that they’re getting a divorce.

This phrase is versatile because it can also mean a situation where several people spread rumors about something.

In such a context, it doesn’t effectively serve as a replacement for “heard through the grapevine.”

8. Whispers on the breeze suggest that…

“Whisper on the breeze suggests that…” This is another juicy idiomatic expression you can use instead of “heard through the grapevine,” especially when you simply want to bring a variety of word choices into the mix.

When you stretch on a topic of rumor, speculation, or  gossip, it can be monotonous to keep repeating “heard through the grapevine,” so you can use “whistler on the breeze suggest that”

It is also a wonderful alternative to use when you intend to keep the source of your information private. In such a case, you metaphorically present your source as a “whisper on the breeze.”

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that the number of infected persons is rising.
  • Words on the breeze suggest that the number of infected persons is rising.

9. The word around town is…

Word around town means widespread information across the city, regardless of how true or false it is.

It is another way to say you heard something through the grapevine.

This idiom in the English language is used to describe something that large numbers of people are talking about.

Just like “heard through the grapevine”, this similar phrase is typically associated with rumors.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that there would be a curfew next week.
  • The word around town is there will be a curfew next week.

10. People are saying that…

If you need a phrase to use instead of “heard through the grapevine” that is not necessarily an idiomatic expression, then you can say, “People are saying that…”

This phrase is a loose interpretation of “heard through the grapevine ”. It is straightforward and understandable by anyone with basic English language knowledge.

You use this alternative phrase, especially when writing a business letter or text, and you can’t express it with idioms.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that the president is severely ill.
  • People are saying that the president is severely ill.

However, “people are saying that ..” does not have as much Excitement or interest as when expressed idiomatically.

Phrases Like Heard Through the Grapevine

11. The latest buzz is that…

If a new development is not publicly known yet, you can use “heard through the grapevine” to break such news.

But an excellent alternative to the idiom, in this context, will be “the latest buzz.”

“The latest buzz” in English is slang that suggests a new development, such as a product, law, reform, upgrade, event, or person that has surfaced.

If the facts are not verified, it is still a buzz until it is proven a real deal.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that both artists will leave the record label this season.
  • The latest buzz is that both artists will leave the record label this season

12. I caught wind of…

“I caught wind of (an information)” means that you heard about it, especially when someone else is hiding it from you.

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It is an informal way to express how you’ve realized something that has been intentionally concealed over time.

While “heard from the grapevine” is a great way to convey the message, an alternative phrase to make the announcement is to say, “I caught wind of…”

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine about the company’s downfall
  • I caught wind of the gossip about the company’s staggering finances and downfall projection.

It means to learn or hear about something — information that has been under the hood for a while.

13. The word going around is…

Rumour is a word going around that may or may not be true. So another way to say “heard through the grapevine” is to directly mention the gist of the idiom— gossip, and rumors.

“The word going around is…” This is another similar phrase to ” heard through the grapevine” because they both mean the same thing.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine Emmanuel is the next King.
  • The word going around is Emmanuel is the next King.

14. According to the latest whispers…

Latest whispers are another way of saying rumor or gossip in circulation. So it suggests that your source is unverified but still news anyway.

It is a wonderful replacement for “heard through the grapevine” because it conveys the same meaning.

Using “according to latest whispers” means the information you’re sharing is derived from gossip around town and may or may not be true.

15. Smoke around the campfire…

Smoke around the campfire is another rarely used idiom that can replace ” heard through the grapevine.”

The history of these two idiomatic expressions is identical and means the same thing.

Smoke, in this context, refers to gossip or information, while campfire refers to the town, community, workplace, school, or church where the gossip is circulating.

For example:

  • I heard through the grapevine that the pastor is involved in an intimate scandal.
  • Smoke around the campfire is that the pastor is involved in an intimate scandal.

In summary

The phrase “heard through the grapevine” means you have heard something indirectly without a clear or official source.

It has become a common idiom in English so much that it can be easily overused.

With that in mind, it would help to put a few alternative phrases to “heard through the grapevine” in your back pocket that doesn’t stray away from the connotative meaning.

From the list of options in the above article, “rumor has it,” “words on the street,” and “the word around town is that…” are common substitutes for these phrases.

I hope you found this helpful.

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