[ eer ]
See synonyms for: earearsearless on Thesaurus.com

  1. 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.

  2. the external ear alone: The hat completely covers his ears.

  1. the sense of hearing: sounds that are pleasing to the ear.

  2. 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.

  3. attention; heed: to gain a person's ear.

  4. any part that resembles or suggests an ear in position or form, as the handle of a teacup.

  5. Architecture. crossette.

  6. 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.

  7. Furniture.

    • a decorative feature at the upper end of a leg.

    • one of the decorative features at each end of a crest rail.

  8. ears, Slang. earphones.

Idioms about ear

  1. be all ears, Informal. to give all one's attention; listen: We were all ears as the scandal was revealed.

  2. bend an ear, to listen attentively: to bend an ear to a request for aid.

  1. 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.

  2. by ear, without reference to written or printed music: to play the piano by ear.

  3. fall on deaf ears, to be disregarded; pass unheeded: Their pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears.

  4. give ear, to pay attention; listen carefully.: Also lend an ear .

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. have one's ears on, Slang. to be listening to a CB radio, police radio, walkie-talkie, etc.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. up to one's ears, deeply involved or occupied to full capacity: We are up to our ears in work.

  13. wet behind the ears. wet (def. 19).

Origin of ear

First recorded before 900; Middle English ere, yere, yare, Old English ēare; cognate with Old Norse eyra, German Ohr, Gothic auso, Latin auris (from unrecorded ausis ), Lithuanian ausìs, Old Irish āu (from unrecorded əusos-), Greek oûs

Other words from ear

  • earless, adjective
  • earlike, adjective

Words Nearby ear

Other definitions for ear (2 of 3)

[ eer ]

  1. 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)
  1. to form or put forth ears.

Origin of ear

First recorded before 900; Middle English ere, er, Old English ēar, æhher, eher; cognate with German Ahre, Old Norse ax (from unrecorded ahiz ), Gothic ahs (from unrecorded ahsis), Latin acus “husk”

Other definitions for ear (3 of 3)

[ eer ]

verb (used with object)British Dialect.
  1. to plow; cultivate.

Origin of ear

First recorded before 900; Middle English eren, erien, Old English erian, erigan, erigean; cognate with Old Norse erja, Gothic arjan, Latin arāre, Lithuanian árti, Greek aroûn, all meaning “to plow”

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ear in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ear (1 of 2)


/ (ɪə) /

  1. 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

  2. the outermost cartilaginous part of the ear (pinna) in mammals, esp man

  1. the sense of hearing

  2. sensitivity to musical sounds, poetic diction, etc: he has an ear for music

  3. attention, esp favourable attention; consideration; heed (esp in the phrases give ear to, lend an ear)

  4. an object resembling the external ear in shape or position, such as a handle on a jug

  5. Also called (esp Brit): earpiece a display box at the head of a newspaper page, esp the front page, for advertisements, etc

  6. all ears very attentive; listening carefully

  7. by ear without reading from written music

  8. chew someone's ear slang to reprimand severely

  9. fall on deaf ears to be ignored or pass unnoticed

  10. have hard ears Caribbean to be stubbornly disobedient

  11. a flea in one's ear informal a sharp rebuke

  12. have the ear of to be in a position to influence: he has the ear of the president

  13. in one ear and out the other heard but unheeded

  14. 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

  15. make a pig's ear of informal to ruin disastrously

  16. one's ears are burning one is aware of being the topic of another's conversation

  17. out on one's ear informal dismissed unceremoniously

  18. 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

  19. prick up one's ears to start to listen attentively; become interested

  20. set by the ears to cause disagreement or commotion

  21. a thick ear informal a blow on the ear delivered as punishment, in anger, etc

  22. turn a deaf ear to be deliberately unresponsive

  23. up to one's ears informal deeply involved, as in work or debt

  24. wet behind the ears informal inexperienced; naive; immature

Origin of ear

Old English ēare; related to Old Norse eyra, Old High German ōra, Gothic ausō, Greek ous, Latin auris

Derived forms of ear

  • earless, adjective
  • earlike, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for ear (2 of 2)


/ (ɪə) /

  1. the part of a cereal plant, such as wheat or barley, that contains the seeds, grains, or kernels

  1. (intr) (of cereal plants) to develop such parts

Origin of ear

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

Scientific definitions for ear (1 of 2)


[ îr ]

  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.

Scientific definitions for ear (2 of 2)


[ îr ]

  1. The seed-bearing spike of a cereal plant, such as corn or wheat.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for ear


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with ear


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

also see:

  • 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

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.