My friend told me a story about Webster, which had been told to him by another friend of him.
The story goes on like:

Noah Webster was a famous scholar and writer, and had many haters, as great men generally have.

One day, he went to a dinner-party. He met one of his rivals there, who wanted to show off his knowledge. The conversation was like:

Rival : Do you know that sugar is the only word in the English language which begins with su but has a sound of shu.
Webster: Are you sure?

Well the answer was quite witty, but I smell a rat.

  • Do rivals really meet at dinners?
  • What kind of rival he was when he didn't know about sure?

My questions are:

  • Has anybody heard this story before?
  • If not, then what is the word for people who carry on wrong information. I don't want a word for people who generate false information (I guess that would be a liar), but instead, a word for people who unknowingly carry on the given false information (like my friend).
  • 2
    Yes, I've heard the story before. But that doesn't mean that it isn't apocryphal. There used to be a programme on BBC Radio called "My Word", which was about the mysteries of the English language. The story was quoted there.
    – Chenmunka
    Jan 28, 2016 at 13:05
  • 2
    Do rivals really meet at dinners? Yes. Webster's rivals would have moved in similar social circles, so could very well have ended up at the same dinner parties. As for what kind of rival he was...a fictional one.
    – ssav
    Jan 28, 2016 at 13:32

3 Answers 3


It seems like you are describing someone who like to pass along "incredible" facts, but doesn't really take the time to find out if they are true. I can't think of a single word that captures what you are getting at - although I certainly know people who fit the profile!

Your meaning is some combination of:

  • Gullible can be fooled easily
  • Incurious doesn't try to find out what is true.
  • Credulous having or showing too great a readiness to believe things.
  • Gossip a person who passes on information that is not confirmed as being true.
  • Rumor monger someone who delights in spreading rumors

    Perhaps you could build up a two-word appellation based on these, and the particularities of the person in question. Marie is a credulous gossip. She is always reposting obviously bogus facebook stories that she should be able to tell are nonsense.

  • Also Rumour monger A British someone who delights in spreading rumors
    – Adam
    Mar 30, 2016 at 17:01

Such a person can be called a misinformant.

This comes from the verb to misinform, which means

To provide with incorrect information.

When someone is misinformed, they, in turn, can carry on and spread false information unknowingly.


not having accurate or completely accurate information about something

  • Doesn't that include people who don't spread lies too; of course not having accurate info?
    – learner
    Jan 28, 2016 at 16:23

I person who tells incorrect information without realising it is


passing on the bad information.
They are usually thought of as misinformed, not clued in, and unsmart.

The British saying that might be used to describe such a person is

Seldom right, never in doubt

That is different from someone who intentionally spreads disinformation and lies

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .