WATCH NOW: What Is The Difference Between The Words "Hear" And "Listen"?

WATCH NOW: What Is The Difference Between The Words "Hear" And "Listen"?

See, everybody says they want to be heard. But, in actuality, they want to be listened to.


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

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

Origin of hear

before 950; Middle English heren, Old English hēran, hīeran; cognate with Dutch horen, German hören, Old Norse heyra, Gothic hausjan; perhaps akin to Greek akoúein (see acoustic)
Related formshear·a·ble, adjectivehear·er, nounhalf-heard, adjectiveout·hear, verb (used with object), out·heard, out·hear·ing.re·hear, verb, re·heard, re·hear·ing.un·hear·a·ble, adjectivewell-heard, adjective
Can be confusedhear hereheard herd

Synonyms for hear

1, 2. attend. Hear, listen apply to the perception of sound. To hear is to have such perception by means of the auditory sense: to hear distant bells. To listen is to give attention in order to hear and understand the meaning of a sound or sounds: to listen to what is being said; to listen for a well-known footstep. 4. attend. 7. regard, heed.

Antonyms for hear

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hear

Contemporary Examples of hear

Historical Examples of hear

  • When I hear a note of music, can I not at once strike its chord?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Let me hear from your own lips the words that must decide my destiny.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • We missed our morning mass, it will do us no harm to hear Nones in the Minster.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • And you don't want to hear anything about mines; it wouldn't be at all good for you, I'm sure.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I did hear, too, that she takes a flyer in the Street now and then.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for hear


verb hears, hearing or heard (hɜːd)

(tr) to perceive (a sound) with the sense of hearing
(tr; may take a clause as object) to listen todid you hear what I said?
(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?
law to give a hearing to (a case)
(when intr, usually foll by of and used with a negative) to listen (to) with favour, assent, etcshe wouldn't hear of it
(intr foll by from) to receive a letter, news, etc (from)
hear! hear! an exclamation used to show approval of something said
hear tell dialect to be told (about); learn (of)
Derived Formshearable, adjectivehearer, noun

Word Origin for hear

Old English hieran; related to Old Norse heyra, Gothic hausjan, Old High German hōren, Greek akouein
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

Word Origin and History for hear

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!

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hear in Medicine




To perceive (sound) by the ear.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with hear


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