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Hear through the grapevine, bush telegraph or jungle telegraph

To hear something through the grapevine means to receive a piece of information through informal channels, to learn something through gossip. Through the grapevine is an American phrase, there are two theories as to its origin. One theory is that the term was derived from the fact that information moved swiftly through slave communities by word-of-mouth, this method of disseminating information was nicknamed the grapevine telegraph around 1840. Another theory cites the Grapevine Tavern in New York City as the source of the term, as it was the most popular place for Union officers to meet during the Civil War, and also, Confederate spies. Information and rumor flowed through the tavern. The term heard it through the grapevine was repopularized in the late 1960s due to the song of the same name sung by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and later, Marvin Gaye.

Through the bush telegraph is an Australian phrase that means to receive a piece of information through informal channels, to learn something through gossip. Bush telegraph is modeled on the American term grapevine telegraph. The first known use of the phrase bush telegraph was in 1878.


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Through the jungle telegraph is a British phrase that also means to receive a piece of information through informal channels, to learn something through gossip, through the jungle telegraph first appeared in the 1870s.

Examples

Temple told the board he heard “through the grapevine” about it and went to Philip, where he attempted to load the cattle into a trailer he took there. (The Grand Forks Herald)

He started to become more involved in the local food scene last year—hosting pop-ups at Federal Hill spots Liv2Eat and Blue Agave—and jumped at the opportunity to revamp the former Cockey’s space when he heard about it through the grapevine earlier this year. (Baltimore Magazine)

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, who was the first to bring forth documents about what she believed to be wrongdoing at the golf course, said she heard about the benefits “through the grapevine.” (The Frederick News-Post)

As Nationals’ frontbenchers Darren Chester and Nigel Scullion pointed out yesterday, they represent the poorest electorates in Australia, they need to demonstrate they will fight for them on basic issues and they need not to worry so much about Twitter, but connect through the “bush telegraph” to hear what people are talking about in the pubs. (The Australian)

The jungle telegraph had announced my arrival as children were appearing from all directions, taking seats and watching me. (The San Diego Reader)

 

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