What is the grapevine?

The "grapevine" is any informal channel of information. It has spawned such derivative terms as the "jungle telegraph" (Africa, Asia) and "bush telegraph" (Australia). Although sometimes used to mean a rumor mill or gossip. it can include truthful information that is obtained from an indirect source.

The origin of the term is unclear, but it may indicate the spreading nature of actual grapevines, where it is difficult to follow the twisting path of the vine back to its source. It could also indicate the secretive aspect of the information, as it would be obtained from anonymous contacts among workers in the vineyards.