1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gossip

GOSSIP (from the O. E. godsibb, i.e. God, and sib, akin, standing in relation to), originally a god-parent, i.e. one who by taking a sponsor’s vows at a baptism stands in a spiritual relationship to the child baptized. The common modern meaning is of light personal or social conversation, or, with an invidious sense, of idle tale-bearing. “Gossip” was early used with the sense of a friend or acquaintance, either of the parent of the child baptized or of the other god-parents, and thus came to be used, with little reference to the position of sponsor, for women friends of the mother present at a birth; the transition of meaning to an idle chatterer or talker for talking’s sake is easy. The application to the idle talk of such persons does not appear to be an early one.