Gossip – perhaps more accurately encapsulated in the Cook Island Maori word ‘o’onitua, “to speak evil of someone in their absence” –is a pretty universal curse. But it’s not always unjustified.

In Rapa Nui (Easter Islands) anga-anga denotes the thought, perhaps groundless, that one is being gossiped about, but it can also carries the sense that this may have arisen from one’s own feeling of guilt.

A more gentle form of gossip is to be found in Jamaica, where the patois word labrish means not only gossip and jokes, but also songs and nostalgic memories of school.