the faculty or sense by which sound is perceived.
the act of perceiving sound.
opportunity to be heard: to grant a hearing.
an instance or a session in which testimony and arguments are presented, especially before an official, as a judge in a lawsuit.
a preliminary examination of the basic evidence and charges by a magistrate to determine whether criminal procedures, a trial, etc., are justified.
earshot: Their conversation was beyond my hearing.

Nearby words

  1. hear, hear,
  2. heard,
  3. heard and mcdonald islands,
  4. heard island and mcdonald islands,
  5. hearer,
  6. hearing aid,
  7. hearing dog,
  8. hearing impairment,
  9. hearing loss,
  10. hearing-ear dog

Origin of hearing

Middle English word dating back to 1175–1225; see origin at hear, -ing1

Related formshear·ing·less, adjectivepre·hear·ing, nounun·hear·ing, adjective



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

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

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

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

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)

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.

Related forms
Can be confusedhear hereheard herd

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

Examples from the Web for hearing

British Dictionary definitions for hearing



the faculty or sense by which sound is perceivedRelated adjective: audio
an opportunity to be listened to
the range within which sound can be heard; earshot
the investigation of a matter by a court of law, esp the preliminary inquiry into an indictable crime by magistrates
a formal or official trial of an action or lawsuit


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 hearing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for hearing




The sense by which sound is perceived; the capacity to hear.




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 hearing


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.