- the organ of hearing and equilibrium in vertebrates, in humans consisting of an external ear that gathers sound vibrations, a middle ear in which the vibrations resonate against the tympanic membrane, and a fluid-filled internal ear that maintains balance and that conducts the tympanic vibrations to the auditory nerve, which transmits them as impulses to the brain.
- the external ear alone: The hat completely covers his ears.
- the sense of hearing: sounds that are pleasing to the ear.
- keen or sensitive perception of the differences of sound, especially sensitiveness to the quality and correctness of musical sounds: an ear for music; a violinist with a good ear.
- attention; heed: to gain a person’s ear.
- any part that resembles or suggests an ear in position or form, as the handle of a teacup.
- Architecture. crossette.
- Journalism. a small box in either upper corner of a newspaper page, usually the front page or split page, containing the name of or a symbol for the edition, a weather bulletin, a slogan, or the like.
- a decorative feature at the upper end of a leg.
- one of the decorative features at each end of a crest rail.
- ears, Slang. earphones.
- ear tuft.
- be all ears, Informal. to give all one’s attention; listen: We were all ears as the scandal was revealed.
- bend an ear, to listen attentively: to bend an ear to a request for aid.
- bend someone’s ear, Informal. to talk to someone uninterruptedly and often so as to induce boredom: He’ll bend your ear for hours if given the chance.
- by ear, without reference to written or printed music: to play the piano by ear.
- fall on deaf ears, to be disregarded; pass unheeded: Their pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears.
- give ear, to pay attention; listen carefully.Also lend an ear.
- go in one ear and out the other, to be heard but ignored; be put out of mind: My repeated warnings to her went in one ear and out the other.
- have/keep one’s ear to the ground, to keep well-informed about current trends; be shrewd or astute: Because she had her ear to the ground, she made a large fortune in stock speculation.
- have one’s ears on, Slang. to be listening to a CB radio, police radio, walkie-talkie, etc.
- pin someone’s ears back, Slang. to give a person a sound beating; defeat a person utterly: If he doesn’t behave himself, I’ll pin his ears back.
- set by the ears, to cause to dispute or quarrel: He’s a troublemaker who keeps trying to set the two other children by the ears.
- set on one’s ear/ears, to excite or stir up; shock; amaze: The presence of the movie star set the whole town on its ear.
- turn a deaf ear to, to refuse to listen to or consider (a request, petition, etc.): He turns a deaf ear to requests for loans.
- up to one’s ears, deeply involved or occupied to full capacity: We are up to our ears in work.
- wet behind the ears. wet(def 19).
- the part of a cereal plant, as corn, wheat, etc., that contains the flowers and hence the fruit, grains, or kernels.
verb (used without object)
- to form or put forth ears.
verb (used with object) British Dialect.
- to plow; cultivate.
- the organ of hearing and balance in higher vertebrates and of balance only in fishes. In man and other mammals it consists of three partsSee external ear, middle ear, internal ear Related adjectives: aural, otic
- the outermost cartilaginous part of the ear (pinna) in mammals, esp man
- the sense of hearing
- sensitivity to musical sounds, poetic diction, etche has an ear for music
- attention, esp favourable attention; consideration; heed (esp in the phrases give ear to, lend an ear)
- an object resembling the external ear in shape or position, such as a handle on a jug
- Also called (esp Brit): earpiece a display box at the head of a newspaper page, esp the front page, for advertisements, etc
- all ears very attentive; listening carefully
- by ear without reading from written music
- chew someone’s ear slang to reprimand severely
- fall on deaf ears to be ignored or pass unnoticed
- have hard ears Caribbean to be stubbornly disobedient
- a flea in one’s ear informal a sharp rebuke
- have the ear of to be in a position to influencehe has the ear of the president
- in one ear and out the other heard but unheeded
- keep one’s ear to the ground or have one’s ear to the ground to be or try to be well informed about current trends and opinions
- make a pig’s ear of informal to ruin disastrously
- one’s ears are burning one is aware of being the topic of another’s conversation
- out on one’s ear informal dismissed unceremoniously
- play by ear
- to act according to the demands of a situation rather than to a plan; improvise
- to perform a musical piece on an instrument without written music
- prick up one’s ears to start to listen attentively; become interested
- set by the ears to cause disagreement or commotion
- a thick ear informal a blow on the ear delivered as punishment, in anger, etc
- turn a deaf ear to be deliberately unresponsive
- up to one’s ears informal deeply involved, as in work or debt
- wet behind the ears informal inexperienced; naive; immature
- the part of a cereal plant, such as wheat or barley, that contains the seeds, grains, or kernels
- (intr) (of cereal plants) to develop such parts
“organ of hearing,” Old English eare “ear,” from Proto-Germanic *auzon (cf. Old Norse eyra, Danish øre, Old Frisian are, Old Saxon ore, Middle Dutch ore, Dutch oor, Old High German ora, German Ohr, Gothic auso), from PIE *ous- with a sense of “perception” (cf. Greek aus, Latin auris, Lithuanian ausis, Old Church Slavonic ucho, Old Irish au “ear,” Avestan usi “the two ears”).
The belief that itching or burning ears means someone is talking about you is mentioned in Pliny’s “Natural History” (77 C.E.). Until at least the 1880s, even some medical men still believed piercing the ear lobes improved one’s eyesight. Meaning “handle of a pitcher” is mid-15c. (but cf. Old English earde “having a handle”). To be wet behind the ears “naive” is implied from 1914. Phrase walls have ears attested from 1610s. Ear-bash (v.) is Australian slang (1944) for “to talk inordinately” (to someone).
“grain part of corn,” from Old English ear (West Saxon), æher (Northumbrian) “spike, ear of grain,” from Proto-Germanic *akhaz (genitive *akhizaz; cf. Dutch aar, Old High German ehir, German Ähre, Old Norse ax, Gothic ahs “ear of corn”), from PIE root *ak- “sharp, pointed” (cf. Latin acus “husk of corn,” Greek akoste “barley;” see acrid).
- The organ of hearing, responsible for maintaining equilibrium as well as sensing sound and divided into the external ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.
- The part of this organ that is externally visible.
- The sense of hearing.
- The vertebrate organ of hearing, which in mammals is usually composed of three parts: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. The organs of balance are also located in the ear.
- An invertebrate organ analogous to the vertebrate ear.
- The seed-bearing spike of a cereal plant, such as corn or wheat.
In addition to the idioms beginning with ear
- early bird catches the worm
- early on
- early to bed, early to rise (makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise)
- earn one’s keep
- earn one’s stripes
- ears are burning, one’s
- ear to the ground, have one’s
- all ears
- believe one’s ears
- bend someone’s ear
- can’t make a silk purse out of sow’s ear
- coming out of one’s ears
- cute as a button (bug’s ear)
- fall on deaf ears
- flea in one’s ear
- have someone’s ear
- in one ear and out the other
- lend one’s ear
- music to one’s ears
- out on one’s ear
- pin someone’s ears back
- play by ear
- prick up one’s ears
- put a bug in someone’s ear
- turn a deaf ear
- up to one’s ears
- walls have ears
- wet behind the ears