- 1[countable] either of the organs on the sides of the head that you hear with an ear infection the inner/outer ear She whispered something in his ear. He put his hands over his ears. She had her ears pierced. The elephant flapped its ears. He was always there with a sympathetic ear (= a willingness to listen to people). see also cauliflower ear, middle ear
- 2-eared (in adjectives) having the type of ears mentioned a long-eared owl
- 3[singular] an ability to recognize and copy sounds well She has always had an ear for languages. You need a good ear to master the piano.
- 4 [countable] the top part of a grain plant, such as wheat, that contains the seeds ears of corn Idioms
- 1(of an animal, especially a horse or dog) to raise the ears
- 2(also your ears prick up) (of a person) to listen carefully, especially because you have just heard something interesting Her ears pricked up at the sound of his name. I walked along, ears pricked for the slightest noise.
nounjump to other results
to be waiting with interest to hear what someone has to say “Do you know what he said?” “Go on—I'm all ears.”
be all ears (informal)jump to other results
to talk to someone a lot about something, especially about a problem that you have
bend somebody's ear (about something) (informal)jump to other results
to be forced to leave (a job, etc.)
be out on your ear (informal)jump to other results
to have a lot of something to deal with We're up to our ears in work.
be up to your ears in somethingjump to other results
to hit someone with your hand on the side of their head as a punishment
box somebody's ears (old-fashioned)jump to other results
to look at or listen to someone or something carefully and with a lot of attention
cock an ear/eye at something/somebodyjump to other results
someone hears about something, especially when other people already know about it News of his affair eventually reached her ears.
something comes to/reaches somebody's earsjump to other results
a person thinks that other people are talking about them, especially in an unkind way “I bumped into your ex-wife last night.” “I thought I could feel my ears burning!”
somebody's ears are burningjump to other results
pleasant to listen to or look at The room was painted in soft pastels that were easy on the eye.
easy on the ear/eye (informal)jump to other results
to be ignored or not noticed by other people Her advice fell on deaf ears.
fall on deaf earsjump to other results
to think or imagine that other people are talking about you
feel your ears burningjump to other results
(of information, etc.) to be forgotten quickly Everything I tell them just goes in one ear and out the other.
go in one ear and out the other (informal)jump to other results
to have a lot of something, especially more than you need That man has money coming out of his ears.
have something coming out of your ears (informal)jump to other results
to be able to give someone advice, influence them, etc. because they trust you He had the ear of the president.
have somebody's ear, have the ear of somebodyjump to other results
to be quick to notice or hear things
keep your ears/eyes open (for something)jump to other results
to make sure that you always find out about the most recent developments in a particular situation The agent had no suitable properties available, but promised to keep an ear to the ground for us.
keep/have your ear to the groundjump to other results
to listen in a patient and sympathetic way to someone
lend an ear (to somebody/something)jump to other results
to succeed in making something good out of material that does not seem very good at all
make a silk purse out of a sow's earjump to other results
news or information that you are very pleased to hear
music to your earsjump to other results
to be very surprised at something you hear/see I couldn't believe my eyes when she walked in.
not believe your ears/eyes (informal)jump to other results
to play music by remembering how it sounds rather than by reading it
play (something) by earjump to other results
to decide how to deal with a situation as it develops rather than by having a plan to follow I'm not sure how many people are coming—we'll just have to play it by ear. I don't know what they'll want when they arrive—we'll have to play it by ear.
play it by ear (informal)jump to other results
prick (up) your earsjump to other results
to make you feel that you can still hear something His warning was still ringing in my ears.
ring in your ears/headjump to other results
to refuse to listen to something She decided to shut her ears to all the rumors.
shut/close your ears to somethingjump to other results
to be smiling, etc. a lot because you are very pleased about something
smile/grin/beam from ear to earjump to other results
to ignore or refuse to listen to someone or something He turned a deaf ear to the rumors.
turn a deaf ear (to somebody/something)jump to other results
used to warn people to be careful what they say because other people may be listening
walls have ears (saying)jump to other results
young and without much experience synonym naive He was still wet behind the ears, politically.
(still) wet behind the ears (informal) (disapproving)jump to other results
without giving your full attention to what is being said, etc.
with half an earjump to other results