listen

[lis-uh n]

verb (used without object)

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.

verb (used with object)

Archaic. to give ear to; hear.

Verb Phrases

listen in,
  1. to listen to a radio or television broadcast: Listen in tomorrow for the names of the lottery winners.
  2. to overhear a conversation or communication, especially by telephone; eavesdrop: Someone was listening in to his private calls.

Nearby words

  1. listed building,
  2. listed company,
  3. listed security,
  4. listee,
  5. listel,
  6. listen in,
  7. listen to reason,
  8. listenable,
  9. listener,
  10. listenership

Origin of listen

before 950; Middle English lis(t)nen, Old English hlysnan; cognate with Middle High German lüsenen, Swedish lyssna; akin to list5

Related formslis·ten·er, nounre·lis·ten, verbun·lis·ten·ing, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for listen


British Dictionary definitions for listen

listen

verb (intr)

to concentrate on hearing something
to take heed; pay attentionI told you many times but you wouldn't listen
Derived Formslistener, noun

Word Origin for listen

Old English hlysnan; related to Old High German lūstrēn

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 listen

listen

v.

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").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper