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This is an archaic term meaning a middle-age woman, which is derived from godsib, "one related to the gods," that is, godmother. In pre-Christian times, elderly women were considered divine because they retained their "wise-blood" following menopause.

In Christian times, the term gossip came to mean any godmother. For example, Queen Elizabeth I was the gossip as the baptism of her godson James VI of Scotland.

The term of "gossip" or "gossips" has taken on more general and disrespectful meanings: A group of elderly women were called "gossips" out of respect at first, after the peasant habit of calling any older woman "mother." The modern meaning of "gossip" arose from the conversation of "gossips," or old wives' tales. A.G.H.

Source: 56, 350.

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