- to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear.
- to pay attention; heed; obey (often followed by to): Children don't always listen to their parents.
- to wait attentively for a sound (usually followed by for): to listen for sounds of their return.
- Informal. to convey a particular impression to the hearer; sound: The new recording doesn't listen as well as the old one.
- Archaic. to give ear to; hear.
- listen in,
- to listen to a radio or television broadcast: Listen in tomorrow for the names of the lottery winners.
- to overhear a conversation or communication, especially by telephone; eavesdrop: Someone was listening in to his private calls.
Origin of listen
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for listening
I stood with a tape recorder, listening to men denounce the liberal media controlled by Jews.The Louisiana Racists Who Courted Steve Scalise
January 3, 2015
I spent time yesterday listening to the music you made, and looking at the art you created.Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
But privately, it is listening to other theories, including those about an inside job.FBI Won’t Stop Blaming North Korea for Sony Hack -- Despite New Evidence
December 30, 2014
It is impossible to calculate the full effect that watching this on television, listening on the radio must have had on Sam.How Martin Luther King Jr. Influenced Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’
December 28, 2014
I could save myself a lot of time and aggravation if I just limited my listening to megastars and their hyped hits.The Best Albums of 2014
December 13, 2014
Your listening Hannah has given you this intelligence, as she does many others.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
On stopping and listening, I soon heard some person calling hogs.Biography of a Slave
Hester could hardly say she saw among them much sign of listening.Weighed and Wanting
He began to suspect that he was being cheated into listening to a Bible story.
The boys were listening, their heads bent forward all around her.
- to concentrate on hearing something
- to take heed; pay attentionI told you many times but you wouldn't listen
Word Origin and History for listening
Old English hlysnan "to listen," from Proto-Germanic *khlusinon (cf. Dutch luisteren, Old High German hlosen "to listen," German lauschen "to listen"), from PIE root *kleu- "hearing, to hear" (cf. Sanskrit srnoti "hears," srosati "hears, obeys;" Avestan sraothra "ear;" Middle Persian srod "hearing, sound;" Lithuanian klausau "to hear," slove "splendor, honor;" Old Church Slavonic slusati "to hear," slava "fame, glory," slovo "word;" Greek klyo "hear, be called," kleos "report, rumor, fame glory," kleio "make famous;" Latin cluere "to hear oneself called, be spoken of;" Old Irish ro-clui-nethar "hears," clunim "I hear," clu "fame, glory," cluada "ears;" Welsh clywaf "I hear;" Old English hlud "loud," hleoðor "tone, tune;" Old High German hlut "sound;" Gothic hiluþ "listening, attention"). The -t- probably is by influence of Old English hlystan (see list (v.2)). For vowel evolution, see bury. As a noun from 1788 (on the listen "alert").