- 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 for listen on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for listen
But if you listen to our leaders, they weren't the real targets here.Politicians Only Love Journalists When They're Dead
January 8, 2015
What an amazing thing to be able to listen to any music you want, a whole world of bands.Belle & Sebastian Aren’t So Shy Anymore
January 7, 2015
One of the rites of passage for every young political reporter is to listen to the elders tell stories about campaigns past.The World’s Toughest Political Quiz
December 31, 2014
But then I thought about the feedback I get from fans, yes we do listen to you, and thought why not?Porn Stars on the Year in Porn: Drone Erotica, Belle Knox, and Wild Sex
December 27, 2014
Why would they listen to the radio when they can see the outside world?North Korea’s Secret Movie Bootleggers: How Western Films Make It Into the Hermit Kingdom
December 22, 2014
I confess, Eudora, it pained me to see you listen to his idle flattery.
He resolved to listen with good grace to any homilies that might issue.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Listen to the voice that tries to win you back to innocence and truth!
It was ingratitude of the blackest character, to listen so coldly to his wishes.
We do not believe what you have said, and will not listen to you.The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California
Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont
- to concentrate on hearing something
- to take heed; pay attentionI told you many times but you wouldn't listen
Word Origin and History for listen
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").