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[eer-ing] /ˈɪər ɪŋ/
noun, Nautical.
a rope attached to a cringle and used for bending a corner of a sail to a yard, boom, or gaff or for reefing a sail.
Origin of earing
First recorded in 1620-30; ear1 + -ing1


[eer] /ɪər/
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.
before 900; Middle English ere, Old English ēar, æhher; cognate with German Ahre, Old Norse ax, Gothic ahs ear, Latin acus husk


[eer] /ɪər/
verb (used with object), British Dialect.
to plow; cultivate.
before 900; Middle English ere(n), Old English erian; cognate with Old Norse erja, Gothic arjan, Latin arāre Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for earing
Historical Examples
  • In vain he tried to clutch the earing; it slipped through his fingers.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • And yet, earing, with all this press of canvas, by the compass we have not left her a foot.

    The Red Rover James Fenimore Cooper
  • Their first month was called Abib, from the earing of Corn in that month.

  • That's it—he was afraid of my 'earing things that mightn't be wholesome for me to know.

    With Edged Tools Henry Seton Merriman
  • For the sheet must be hauled right in, and cannot be eased while the earing is being made fast.

    Yachting Vol. 1 Various.
  • Also, small wedges of wood fastened on the yards, to keep ropes or the earing of the sail from slipping off the yard.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • In all sails whose opposite leeches are of the same length, it is terminated above by the earing, and below by the clue.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The outer turns of the earing serve to extend the sail outwards along its yard.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The young chap looks me all over from clue to earing, and says he, "My mother told you to say that!"

  • Haul well out, and take a round-turn with the earing round the cringle.

    The Seaman's Friend Richard Henry Dana
British Dictionary definitions for earing


(nautical) a line fastened to a corner of a sail for reefing
Word Origin
C17: from ear1 + -ing1 or perhaps ring1


the organ of hearing and balance in higher vertebrates and of balance only in fishes. In man and other mammals it consists of three parts See 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, etc: he 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
(slang) chew someone's ear, to reprimand severely
fall on deaf ears, to be ignored or pass unnoticed
(Caribbean) have hard ears, to be stubbornly disobedient
(informal) a flea in one's ear, a sharp rebuke
have the ear of, to be in a position to influence: he has the ear of the president
in one ear and out the other, heard but unheeded
keep one's ear to the ground, have one's ear to the ground, to be or try to be well informed about current trends and opinions
(informal) make a pig's ear of, to ruin disastrously
one's ears are burning, one is aware of being the topic of another's conversation
(informal) out on one's ear, dismissed unceremoniously
play by ear
  1. to act according to the demands of a situation rather than to a plan; improvise
  2. 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
(informal) a thick ear, a blow on the ear delivered as punishment, in anger, etc
turn a deaf ear, to be deliberately unresponsive
(informal) up to one's ears, deeply involved, as in work or debt
(informal) wet behind the ears, inexperienced; naive; immature
Derived Forms
earless, adjective
earlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English ēare; related to Old Norse eyra, Old High German ōra, Gothic ausō, Greek ous, Latin auris


the part of a cereal plant, such as wheat or barley, that contains the seeds, grains, or kernels
(intransitive) (of cereal plants) to develop such parts
Word Origin
Old English ēar; related to Old High German ahar, Old Norse ax, Gothic ahs ear, Latin acus chaff, Greek akros pointed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for earing



"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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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earing in Medicine

ear (ēr)

  1. 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.

  2. The part of this organ that is externally visible.

  3. The sense of hearing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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earing in Science
ear 1

  1. 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.

  2. An invertebrate organ analogous to the vertebrate ear.

ear 2
The seed-bearing spike of a cereal plant, such as corn or wheat.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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earing in Culture

ear definition

The organ of hearing, which also plays a role in maintaining balance. It is divided into the outer ear (from the outside to the eardrum), the middle ear, and the inner ear.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for earing
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with earing
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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