There are 2 main definitions of ear in English:

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Syllabification: ear


1The organ of hearing and balance in humans and other vertebrates, especially the external part of this.
Example sentences
  • If the growth is large, then it may have caused more damage and this sometimes leads to some loss of hearing in the affected ear.
  • Surgeons are sometimes able to preserve some hearing in the ear being operated on, but this is rare.
  • The balancing mechanism in the ear can be tested in various ways using vestibulometric tests.
1.1An organ sensitive to sound in other animals.
Example sentences
  • They have a tragus, which can be folded back to seal the opening of the ear when the animal digs.
  • In many ways, the cetacean ear is radically different from the ear of terrestrial mammals.
  • Then she would have leaned over and stroked the mare's neck whispering sweet nothings in her ear as the animal pranced.
1.2 [in singular] An ability to recognize, appreciate, and reproduce sounds, especially music or language: an ear for melody
More example sentences
  • But with near sensory overload of sound, music and colour, not having an ear for the Danish language didn't matter.
  • In fact, it sounded so good that it seemed as though someone with an ear for classical music was at the helm of this company and so we decided to investigate.
  • He was also a magnificent writer with an ear for language and a wonderful imagination, and a fine poet to boot.
appreciation, discrimination, perception
1.3Used to refer to a person’s willingness to listen and pay attention to something: she offers a sympathetic ear to worried pet owners
More example sentences
  • "I'm there as a chaplain to listen with a sympathetic ear to any concerns they may have, " Yee said.
  • If I didn't have a shoulder to lean on or a compassionate ear willing to listen to me rant, I might've been tempted to quit.
  • As for you, the membership, many of you have offered an ear to listen, time to reflect, and many hours of friendship and support.
1.4An ear-shaped thing, especially the handle of a jug.

The ear of a mammal is composed of three parts. The outer or external ear consists of a fleshy external flap and a tube leading to the eardrum or tympanum. The middle ear is an air-filled cavity connected to the throat, containing three small linked bones that transmit vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The inner ear is a complex fluid-filled labyrinth including the spiral cochlea (where vibrations are converted to nerve impulses) and the three semicircular canals (forming the organ of balance). The ears of other vertebrates are broadly similar


Old English ēare, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch oor and German Ohr, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin auris and Greek ous.


be all ears

informal Be listening eagerly and attentively.
Example sentences
  • As an epileptic, I was all ears and I listened to her telling me her symptoms.
  • Our reporter was all ears, but heard only silence - as the figure was written down and discreetly handed to the magistrates.
  • The audience were all ears when the teams crooned ditties from the golden 80s.

bring something (down) about one's ears

Bring something, especially misfortune, on oneself: she brought her world crashing about her ears

one's ears are burning

One is subconsciously aware of being talked about or criticized.
Example sentences
  • His name escapes me now, but I hope his ears are burning, wherever he is.

grin (or smile) from ear to ear

Smile broadly.
Example sentences
  • At the end of the evening, Dick was smiling from ear to ear to see just hooks on the walls where his artworks used to hang because that means they have been sold.
  • ‘It's all sorted’ Sky replies, smiling from ear to ear.
  • ‘When we saw her in the pet store, we just knew she was the dog for you,’ my mom continued, smiling from ear to ear.

have something coming out of one's ears

informal Have a substantial or excessive amount of something: that man’s got money coming out of his ears
More example sentences
  • I figured that despite having kids coming out of my ears, very little spare cash and a stressful job, on one night a week my guitar and I would work together again.
  • It's the season of mangoes and you probably have them coming out of your ears.
  • I think most people here will have plans coming out of their ears and most will say this is just another one.

have someone's ear

Have access to and influence with someone: he claimed to have the prime minister’s ear
More example sentences
  • Bisbee was Cooke's aide-de-camp in Omaha, and he had General Cooke's ear and complete access to and responsibility for his correspondence and reports.
  • ‘When you hold a fundraiser, there are certain people who are going to come that want to have your ear,’ says Chan.
  • While we have the president's ear there is another urgent matter which requires sensible discussion and not knee-jerk reactions.

have (or keep) an ear to the ground

Be well informed about events and trends.
Example sentences
  • I understand that righteous anger fuels the funny, and that you have to work at keeping an ear to the ground and respond to what the audience wants to hear.
  • So what if Sven has been keeping an ear to the ground about what might be next for him?
  • The experts in transport, who have an ear to the ground, concur that many countries that held on to the railway system have been wiser than the ones that closed them to save money.

in one ear and out the other

Heard but disregarded or quickly forgotten: whatever he tells me seems to go in one ear and out the other
More example sentences
  • At the moment this, if heard, would go in one ear and out the other.
  • Sometimes people hear things and it ‘goes in one ear and out the other.’
  • I didn't even hear her anymore; it was just in one ear and out the other, the same old story that I'm so, so sick of.

listen with half an ear

Not give one’s full attention.
Example sentences
  • Midori watched the room warily, only listening with half an ear as she scanned the crowd.
  • ‘Oh, my, this is interesting,’ said Maria, who had been listening with half an ear until now.
  • As they walked off to start their shift, Janey was listening with half an ear to Debi's chatter.

be out on one's ear

informal Be dismissed or ejected ignominiously.
Example sentences
  • In due time the supporters, media, and players, it seems, turned against him, and he was out on his ear as the team headed for a summer tour in the US.
  • I've been having a bit of a laugh with a few of the regulars at the pub about who I'm going to let in if there's a disaster and who is out on their ear.
  • In Ireland, meanwhile, you can be out on your ear within 28 days and your rent can rise by as much as your landlord likes.

up to one's ears in

informal Very busy with or deeply involved in: I’m up to my ears in work here
More example sentences
  • I was up to my ears in work, and literally talking on two phones at once like a tycoon in an old movie.
  • I know you are all busy with your families, up to your ears in daily problem solving, and that the last thing you need is bad news.
  • Other times, it can land you both up to your ears in big trouble.



[in combination]: long-eared


Example sentences
  • We measured the total nocturnal flight time of 60 individual male moths representing seven species of eared moths and five species of earless moths.
  • Small, rufous, and earless, the Serendib Scops Owl is quite unlike any other owl in Sri Lanka or anywhere else in the Indian subcontinent.
  • As the ghost spoke, his earless sibling aimed a wand of fire at the stranger and the other one tried to break free of his ‘wrappings’.

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There are 2 main definitions of ear in English:

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Syllabification: ear


1The seed-bearing head or spike of a cereal plant.
Example sentences
  • Plants were allowed to open-pollinate and all measurements were taken on plants with a fertilized ear.
  • Measurements were conducted at 20°C at the second leaf of seedlings and at 25°C at the second leaf above the ear during flowering.
  • It is most noticeable as grayish black galls on the ear of the plant.
1.1North American A head of corn.
Example sentences
  • The dignity inherent in the farmer's labour is enhanced rather than diminished as he turns every tenth ear of corn over to support those who labour in a different field.
  • And oh yeah, save her an ear of roasted corn and a cold frosty one for me, would ya?
  • By sticking an ear of dried corn on top, he lured squirrels to charge up the board and then spin around for a dizzying ride.


Old English ēar, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aar and German Ähre.

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