Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Ear. (Anglo-Saxon, eáre.)

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Ear. (Anglo-Saxon, eáre.)
A deaf ear. One that refuses to listen; as if it heard not.   1
   Bow down Thine ear. Condescend to hear or listen. (Ps. xxxi. 2.).   2
   By ear. To sing or play by ear means to sing or play without knowledge of musical notes, depending on the ear only.   3
   Give ear to … Listen to; give attention to.   4
   I am all ear. All attention.
“I was all ear,
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of death.”
Míltôn: Comus, 574.
   I’ll send you off wïth a fleà in your ear. With a cuff or box of the ear. The allusion is to domestic animals, who are sometimes greatly annoyed with these “tiny torments.” There seems also to be a pun implied—flea and flee.   6
   The French equivalent is “Mettre la puce à l’oreille,” to give one a good jobation.   7
   In at one ear, and out at the other. Forgotten as soon as heard.   8
   No ear. A bad ear for musical intonations; “ear-blind” or “sound-blind.”   9
   Dionysius’s Ear. A bell-shaped chamber connected by an underground passage with the king’s palace. Its object was that the tyrant of Syracuse might overhear whatever was passing in the prison.   10


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