Doing the rounds
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Reader question:

In "take a look at the latest rumors1 doing the rounds in the city", what does "doing the rounds" mean?

My comments:

Rumors doing the rounds in the city means... Oh, hold on a sec. Let me beat about the bush a bit this time before giving the answer.

"Round", the root word, describes something that is circle-shaped. Football is round, as they say, a cliché pointing to the fickle3 nature of the game – in other words, you can't predict the result of a game no matter how much stronger one team appears than the other on paper.

The Earth goes round (and round) the Sun, meaning the planet runs circles around the star.

In a single-elimination (meaning losing one game and you are out) sports tournament, players each play one match per round – winners advance to the next round while losers go home.

A round-table meeting is one in which people sit and talk from seats placed round a table.

Is there enough food to go round? That is a question asking whether there's enough for all with no one left out.

When it's your turn to buy everyone a drink at the bar, you say "it's my round."

A traditional family doctor out on his rounds (plural) is one who goes out to make a regular visit to each and every one of his patients.

If a rumor2 is said to be "doing the rounds in the city" – we're finally getting round to it – it's circulating in town. The message is passed on from one mouth to another and everybody hears it.

Wow, this is easy, isn't it? No need for definitions. Good and by the way, "doing the rounds" is sometimes varied4 into "making the rounds" or "going the rounds".

Here are media examples:

1. doing the rounds:

So now we know what John McCain really thinks of his running mate Sarah Palin – and that's not just because of the awkward body language between them during his concession5 speech in Phoenix6, Arizona.

An exasperated7 McCain has been telling friends in recent weeks that Palin is even more trouble than a pitbull.

In one joke doing the rounds, the Republican presidential candidate has been asking friends: what is the difference between Sarah Palin and a pitbull? The friendly canine8 eventually lets go, is the McCain punchline9.

McCain's joke is a skit10 on Palin's most famous line after she was picked as his surprise running mate. Palin delighted the Republican base when she said the only difference between a pitbull and a hockey mom was lipstick11.

- McCain's verdict on Palin: more trouble than a pitbull,, November 5, 2008.

2. making the rounds:

Virginia elections officials said fliers are making the rounds in several Hampton Roads localities attempting to confuse voters.

The fliers advise Republicans to vote on Nov. 4, and Democrats13 on Nov. 5.

Election Day for everyone, of course, is Nov. 4.

The bogus advisory14 features the logo of the State Board of Elections and states the two voting dates are intended to ease the load on local balloting15 officials.

State police are looking into the source of the fliers.

- Bogus Election Fliers Probed in Hampton Roads,, October 28, 2008.

3. going the rounds:

Computers may not yet be able to make jokes, but jokes are being made about them. The latestgoing the rounds in board rooms and barrooms concerns the unknown fellow who was suddenly made president of one of the nation's largest firms. Reporters wanted to know the secret of his meteoric16 rise. Had he won controlling stock interest in the company? No; didn't own a share. Did he have pals17 on the board of directors? Not even an acquaintance. Had he pioneered a new industrial process? Couldn't even fix a lawnmower. At last, one reporter asked point-blank how he got the job then. "Oh, that's simple," answered the new president. "A guy in golf spikes18 stepped on my IBM card."

- I Got My Job Through . . ., Time magazine, May 12, 1961.  


1 rumors 2170bcd55c0e3844ecb4ef13fef29b01     
n.传闻( rumor的名词复数 );[古]名誉;咕哝;[古]喧嚷v.传闻( rumor的第三人称单数 );[古]名誉;咕哝;[古]喧嚷
  • Rumors have it that the school was burned down. 有谣言说学校给烧掉了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Rumors of a revolt were afloat. 叛变的谣言四起。 来自《简明英汉词典》
2 rumor qS0zZ     
  • The rumor has been traced back to a bad man.那谣言经追查是个坏人造的。
  • The rumor has taken air.谣言流传开了。
3 fickle Lg9zn     
  • Fluctuating prices usually base on a fickle public's demand.物价的波动往往是由于群众需求的不稳定而引起的。
  • The weather is so fickle in summer.夏日的天气如此多变。
4 varied giIw9     
  • The forms of art are many and varied.艺术的形式是多种多样的。
  • The hotel has a varied programme of nightly entertainment.宾馆有各种晚间娱乐活动。
5 concession LXryY     
  • We can not make heavy concession to the matter.我们在这个问题上不能过于让步。
  • That is a great concession.这是很大的让步。
6 phoenix 7Njxf     
  • The airline rose like a phoenix from the ashes.这家航空公司又起死回生了。
  • The phoenix worship of China is fetish worship not totem adoration.中国凤崇拜是灵物崇拜而非图腾崇拜。
7 exasperated ltAz6H     
  • We were exasperated at his ill behaviour. 我们对他的恶劣行为感到非常恼怒。
  • Constant interruption of his work exasperated him. 对他工作不断的干扰使他恼怒。
8 canine Lceyb     
  • The fox is a canine animal.狐狸是犬科动物。
  • Herbivorous animals have very small canine teeth,or none.食草动物的犬牙很小或者没有。
9 punchline punchline     
  • Even then,the magical pause can strengthen the punchline.即使这样,有魔力的停顿依然可以增强笑点。
  • A good joke or a mystery novel has along wind up to the final punchline.好的笑话或神秘小说都是一路曲折,直至最后的笑料或真相。
10 skit 8hEy1     
  • The comic skIt sent up the foolishness of young men in love.那幅画把沉溺于热恋中的青年男子的痴态勾勒得滑稽可笑。
  • They performed a skit to amuse the crowd.他们表演了一个幽默小品来娱乐观众。
11 lipstick o0zxg     
  • Taking out her lipstick,she began to paint her lips.她拿出口红,开始往嘴唇上抹。
  • Lipstick and hair conditioner are cosmetics.口红和护发素都是化妆品。
12 guardian 8ekxv     
  • The form must be signed by the child's parents or guardian. 这张表格须由孩子的家长或监护人签字。
  • The press is a guardian of the public weal. 报刊是公共福利的卫护者。
13 democrats 655beefefdcaf76097d489a3ff245f76     
n.民主主义者,民主人士( democrat的名词复数 )
  • The Democrats held a pep rally on Capitol Hill yesterday. 民主党昨天在国会山召开了竞选誓师大会。
  • The democrats organize a filibuster in the senate. 民主党党员组织了阻挠议事。 来自《简明英汉词典》
14 advisory lKvyj     
  • I have worked in an advisory capacity with many hospitals.我曾在多家医院做过顾问工作。
  • He was appointed to the advisory committee last month.他上个月获任命为顾问委员会委员。
15 balloting 8f1753a4807eafede562c072f0b885bc     
v.(使)投票表决( ballot的现在分词 )
  • Clark took a commanding leading in the early balloting. 在最初投票时,克拉克遥遥领先。 来自辞典例句
  • The balloting had stagnated, he couldn't win. 投票工作陷于停顿,他不能得胜。 来自辞典例句
16 meteoric WwAy2     
  • In my mind,losing weight is just something meteoric.在我眼中,减肥不过是昙花一现的事情。
  • His early career had been meteoric.他的早期生涯平步青云。
17 pals 51a8824fc053bfaf8746439dc2b2d6d0     
n.朋友( pal的名词复数 );老兄;小子;(对男子的不友好的称呼)家伙
  • We've been pals for years. 我们是多年的哥们儿了。
  • CD 8 positive cells remarkably increased in PALS and RP(P CD8+细胞在再生脾PALS和RP内均明显增加(P 来自互联网
18 spikes jhXzrc     
n.穗( spike的名词复数 );跑鞋;(防滑)鞋钉;尖状物v.加烈酒于( spike的第三人称单数 );偷偷地给某人的饮料加入(更多)酒精( 或药物);把尖状物钉入;打乱某人的计划
  • a row of iron spikes on a wall 墙头的一排尖铁
  • There is a row of spikes on top of the prison wall to prevent the prisoners escaping. 监狱墙头装有一排尖钉,以防犯人逃跑。 来自《简明英汉词典》