I was writing another question on Workplace Interview when i realised that I did not know a term / word to describe someone whom you are gossiping about

What is a word / term to describe someone whom you are gossiping about ???

  • 1
    Your victim..
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 7, 2014 at 18:12
  • There are too many words to describe someone you are gossiping about -- an unlimited number. In fact, that's the whole point of gossiping: to describe someone (typically in unflattering terms).
    – Drew
    Aug 7, 2014 at 20:22
  • target is another possibility
    – Barmar
    Aug 8, 2014 at 20:57
  • @Drew He doesn't mean the words used in the gossip itself, but a word to describe the relationship between the gossip and the person.
    – Barmar
    Aug 8, 2014 at 20:58
  • @Barmar: Yes, I know. ;-)
    – Drew
    Aug 8, 2014 at 21:18

4 Answers 4



You can be the victim of gossip as it is rarely complimentary, often malicious and entails judgement and criticism.

Barry was a victim of gossip at work. It went beyond the usual comment and speculation. His mates said Barry was on cocaine and abused his own children. The heavy workplace atmosphere was getting to him. What should he do?

Malicious workplace gossip is self-defeating, corrosive and belittles both the speaker and the person who is the victim of the gossip. It can be vicious way in which ambitious staff may see to undermine a competitor. Or is may be idle gossips, lacking a motive, but still being corrosive and damaging.


Subject is the word I would use, in the general meaning of "that which is being talked about." Works for gossip just as well as for other modes of discussion.


If gossiper is one who gossips, then you could always use gossipee. While it's not very well attested searching the interwebs (though I did find it in at least one published book on pyschology), its meaning should be quite transparent to any native speaker of English most especially when contrasted with gossiper.


Victim: The person whom one is gossipping about can be called as the victim.

A victim is a person who is the target of an unpleasant situation. While you gossip about someone, it is an unpleasant situation for that person. Hence you can call that person a victim of your gossip.

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