hear of

verb (used with object), heard [hurd] /hɜrd/, hear·ing.

  1. to perceive by the ear: Didn’t you hear the doorbell?
  2. to learn by the ear or by being told; be informed of: to hear news.
  3. to listen to; give or pay attention to: They refused to hear our side of the argument.
  4. to be among the audience at or of (something): to hear a recital.
  5. to give a formal, official, or judicial hearing to (something); consider officially, as a judge, sovereign, teacher, or assembly: to hear a case.
  6. to take or listen to the evidence or testimony of (someone): to hear the defendant.
  7. to listen to with favor, assent, or compliance.
  8. (of a computer) to perceive by speech recognition.

verb (used without object), heard [hurd] /hɜrd/, hear·ing.

  1. to be capable of perceiving sound by the ear; have the faculty of perceiving sound vibrations.
  2. to receive information by the ear or otherwise: to hear from a friend.
  3. to listen with favor, assent, or compliance (often followed by of): I will not hear of your going.
  4. (of a computer) to be capable of perceiving by speech recognition.
  5. (used as an interjection in the phrase Hear! Hear! to express approval, as of a speech).

verb hears, hearing or heard (hɜːd)

  1. (tr) to perceive (a sound) with the sense of hearing
  2. (tr; may take a clause as object) to listen todid you hear what I said?
  3. (when intr, sometimes foll by of or about; when tr, may take a clause as object) to be informed (of); receive information (about)to hear of his success; have you heard?
  4. law to give a hearing to (a case)
  5. (when intr, usually foll by of and used with a negative) to listen (to) with favour, assent, etcshe wouldn’t hear of it
  6. (intr foll by from) to receive a letter, news, etc (from)
  7. hear! hear! an exclamation used to show approval of something said
  8. hear tell dialect to be told (about); learn (of)

Old English heran (Anglian), (ge)hieran, hyran (West Saxon) “to hear, listen (to), obey, follow; accede to, grant; judge,” from Proto-Germanic *hauzjan (cf. Old Norse heyra, Old Frisian hora, Dutch horen, German hören, Gothic hausjan), perhaps from PIE *kous- “to hear” (see acoustic). The shift from *-z- to -r- is a regular feature in some Germanic languages.

For spelling, see see head (n.); spelling distinction between hear and here developed 1200-1550. Old English also had the excellent adjective hiersum “ready to hear, obedient,” literally “hear-some” with suffix from handsome, etc. Hear, hear! (1680s) was originally imperative, used as an exclamation to call attention to a speaker’s words; now a general cheer of approval. Originally it was hear him!


  1. To perceive (sound) by the ear.

Be informed about, as in I’d never heard of that jazz singer before, but she was very good. [Late 1500s] Also see not have it (hear of it).

In addition to the idioms beginning with hear

  • hear a peep out of
  • hear a pin drop, can
  • hear from
  • hear of
  • hear oneself think, can’t
  • hear out

also see:

  • another county heard from
  • hard of hearing
  • never hear the end of
  • not have it (hear of it)
  • unheard of

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