Where Did the Phrase “l Heard it Through the Grapevine” Come From and What Does the Expression Mean?

During the American Civil War, a Colonel Bee set up a crude telegraph line between Placerville and Virginia City by stringing wires from trees.

The wires hung in loops like wild grapevines, and so the system was called the “Grapevine Telegraph,” or simply “the grapevine.”

By the time war news came through the wires it was often outdated, misleading, or false.

And soon the expression “I heard it through the grapevine” soon came to describe any information obtained through gossip or rumor that was likely unreliable.