Definition of hear in English:



  • 1 Perceive with the ear the sound made by (someone or something)

    ‘behind her she could hear men's voices’
    [with object and infinitive] ‘she had never been heard to complain’
    [no object] ‘he did not hear very well’
    • ‘She stumbled out of the way just as she heard the voice, sounding quite irritated.’
    • ‘It helped her hear some vowel sounds in the lower frequencies, but that was all.’
    • ‘It is through the use of pictures, sounds, and hearing the language on a daily basis that helps them to learn.’
    • ‘At that very moment, she hears some familiar sounds and feels some movement behind her back.’
    • ‘They've been hearing the sound bites from the government ministers and also from the farmers.’
    • ‘The roaring and crashing sounds she had heard the night before had not stopped either.’
    • ‘If you haven't heard the sound clip you really have to get with the programme.’
    • ‘Five minutes after that I heard seven bangs which sounded like firecrackers.’
    • ‘I've never heard anyone with a sound scientific background argue that it's better for you.’
    • ‘At 16 he awoke to his country's indigenous sounds after hearing traditional music played at his father's funeral.’
    • ‘Perhaps they enjoy hearing me sound all ratty and scratchy, trying to be polite in the name of friendship.’
    • ‘A neighbour reported hearing a thud that sounded like a garbage bag being dropped.’
    • ‘And yet it still sounded remarkable to hear the words that came yesterday.’
    • ‘This may sound cruel but I hear catcalls and people pick on me enough outside my family home.’
    • ‘As Claire walked into the main corridor, she heard voices that sounded not too far off.’
    • ‘The noise of the blast has left him struggling to hear high frequency sounds.’
    • ‘Humans cannot generate or hear the high frequency sound waves generated by bats.’
    • ‘I remember hearing the bus driver sounding his horn as if he was angry.’
    • ‘Whilst we were talking, we heard a sort of sound between a yelp and a bark.’
    • ‘Her voice was so quite that he almost didn't hear her over the sound of the river.’
    perceive, catch, get, make out, take in, apprehend, discern
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Be told or informed of.
      ‘have you heard the news?’
      [with clause] ‘they heard that I had moved’
      [no object] ‘I was shocked to hear of her death’
      • ‘We often hear of private records being dumped illegally or information being stolen.’
      • ‘If anyone has more information, I would be most interested to hear of it.’
      • ‘Many people saw things as they were reported on the TV news, or heard about them on the radio as they drove along.’
      • ‘She told her husband about the incident the next day and he told her he had heard about the killing on the news and urged her to contact the police.’
      • ‘We only heard about the scandal at the Sheffield clinic on the news.’
      • ‘She had not gone to work because she had heard about the bombs on the news.’
      • ‘I decided to investigate, using an experiment I'd heard about in New York City.’
      • ‘The Duchess of York, who is an old friend of Murray and knows her as Jeffa, said she was delighted to hear of the explorers' safe rescue.’
      • ‘I heard about this on the news on the radio on Friday, but didn't have the time to look any further into it at that point.’
      • ‘The mask, in a private collection, was unknown to researchers until Coe heard about it last year.’
      • ‘However, just about every murder case we hear of in the news involves a religious murderer.’
      • ‘I suspect we will hear of more research like this as mobile-phone using cohorts in the population age.’
      • ‘He had first heard about the investigation on the radio and contacted the police.’
      • ‘Every time I talk to or hear of anyone studying anything at all, I get jealous.’
      • ‘This is the first question my friends asked me when they heard about the trip.’
      • ‘If we could absorb the significance and importance of every death we heard about in the news then we would be unable to function.’
      • ‘We have heard about investment but what about investment in pensioners?’
      • ‘Most employees arriving for work early today had only heard about the merger on the early morning news.’
      • ‘The next news they heard about Belinda was a phone call in 1997 informing them she had been arrested.’
      • ‘I sent an email to the minister informing him that I expect to hear of his resignation in coming days.’
      be informed, be told, find out, discover, learn, gather, glean, ascertain, get word, be made aware, be given to understand, hear tell, get wind, pick up
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[no object]Be aware of; know of the existence of.
      ‘nobody had ever heard of my college’
      • ‘Dad ignores daughter if he passes her in the street and she wishes they had never heard of the Lottery.’
      • ‘After games he would drink just water to rehydrate himself before we had even heard of doing that.’
      • ‘I've never heard of a swimming pool anywhere in the world that has banned backstroke.’
      • ‘Few people outside the industry had heard of him and that's the way he liked it.’
      • ‘What about lab technicians who are rarely heard of but whose competence can be a matter of life or death?’
      • ‘You probably haven't even heard of some of these people but we had a great time.’
      • ‘By far the most common reaction is that they have never heard of him, he doesn't even register.’
      • ‘We set up our site five years ago when many businesses hadn't even heard of e-commerce.’
      • ‘They certainly did not expect a choir most of them had never heard of to leapfrog them into third spot.’
      • ‘The wife has arthritis and she went up to her specialist but he had never heard of it as a cure.’
      • ‘Just occasionally I hear a song by an artist I have never heard of that sticks in my mind for days.’
      • ‘I have never heard of this before and wondered whether it could help the problem.’
      • ‘If they haven't heard of the campaign, this will tell them what they need to know.’
      • ‘If you have heard of all three, you will realise just how truly irreplaceable John Peel is.’
      • ‘I have not heard of a single new urban transport plan for the town which would make any difference.’
      • ‘This is when all the people who don't give a toss or haven't heard of the scandal are still behind you.’
      • ‘I would like to ask him when was the last time he heard of a fox-hunter tucking into a tasty meal of fox stew?’
      • ‘I'm the guy who makes part four and part five of movies where you haven't heard of the first one.’
      • ‘It is fair bet that like millions of Americans you never heard of any of this.’
      • ‘They say the proposed change will associate them with a place most people have never even heard of.’
    3. 1.3[no object]Be contacted by (someone), especially by letter or telephone.
      ‘if you would like to join the committee, we would love to hear from you’
      • ‘The programme hears from a woman who avoided leaving her house for 10 years, and if she had to, scrubbed herself so violently afterwards that she literally got down to the last of her seven layers of skin.’
      • ‘If you have a story or information you would like to be included we would love to hear from you.’
      • ‘I've not spoken to her on the phone nor heard from her via letter for three years.’
      • ‘My dad heard from his two brothers that he never hears from, one in Romania who is now coming home to make funeral arrangements.’
      • ‘He would love to hear from anyone who has examples of animal folklore or legend in Yorkshire.’
      • ‘If so the organisers of this year's Medieval Festival would love to hear from you.’
      • ‘In truth, I'm probably just a mild hypochondriac who should get out more, but if no one hears from me for more than three days, please call the following number…’
      • ‘We always love hearing from you, even if you have tattoos and pierced places on you.’
      • ‘Not hearing from him, I contacted another friend in the UK, who had been in touch with his sister.’
      • ‘This contact is sometimes the first time they have heard from their families for decades.’
      • ‘If you or one of your readers is interested in doing this we would love to hear from them.’
      • ‘Though disqualified as a member of the council, he will address his former colleagues ‘in committee’ before the start of the monthly meeting and is likely to ask for a delay in filling his seat until he hears from the Department of Justice.’
      • ‘I still have not heard from you following my last letter, and do not expect to for some months.’
      • ‘He would love to hear from anyone who can shed some light on the great cowboy mystery.’
      • ‘Childline Scotland, the national helpline for children in trouble or danger, hears from a small, but significant, number of young people who are commercially sexually exploited every year.’
      • ‘After a day without hearing from him, she contacted the police and began a search.’
      • ‘The group is particularly keen to hear from people living close to mobile telephone masts.’
      • ‘So, what I'm trying to say is, I love hearing from you guys, even if I don't always show it.’
      • ‘If you have a story to tell or a regret to resolve they would love to hear from you.’
      • ‘Take time to read some of the stories on the site and if you think you have what it takes, we'd love to hear from you.’
    4. 1.4Listen or pay attention to.
      [with clause] ‘she just doesn't hear what I'm telling her’
      • ‘The Ivorians seemed willing to be heard, but none of them seemed willing to listen.’
      • ‘James stood there listening the whole time but only heard half the conversation.’
      • ‘Anna started to speak to me again, and I listened, nodding, although not really hearing anything she had to say.’
      • ‘It knows the difference between listening and hearing.’
      • ‘The children learn to open their hearts and to really listen to others and be heard by them.’
      • ‘He may be willing to listen but will he hear anything that's said?’
      • ‘She complains that I don't talk to her and then she wonders why I get so angry because she never listens or hears anything I say.’
      • ‘It is at that point that his mantra changes from a selfish need to be heard to actually listening.’
      • ‘If he does not listen, the only other way to be heard is at the ballot box in November.’
    5. 1.5Listen to all that someone has to say.
      ‘Joseph gravely heard them out but never offered advice’
      • ‘The best never try to persuade the reader to believe them, only to hear them out, as Fort himself once did.’
      • ‘The mother hadn't found out her daughters' motives, she hadn't heard them out.’
      • ‘She doesn't listen to their problems, their wants or needs, she just assumes that she knows exactly what they need or want without really hearing them out.’
      • ‘They ruled that if defendants could show they were acting out of necessity or under duress the jury had the right to hear them out.’
      • ‘So, I decided that I would hear them out and just listen.’
      • ‘Before you people start screaming, hear my case out.’
      • ‘Ariel Rogers heard them out, but it was important to her that, if they were to use Stan's name, they would have to do it right.’
      • ‘I've done a fair amount of that kind of work before - I once worked with kids in a juvenile hall - and over the years I have found that if you can convey that you really want to hear them out as opposed to preaching to them, then they open up.’
      • ‘As long as we exclude them and don't hear them out, we will allow them to continue their hate.’
      • ‘The panelists, members of a national government advisory congress, intervened and heard the student out, according to one witness and accounts by others posted on the Internet.’
    6. 1.6[no object]Will or would not allow or agree to.
      ‘I won't hear of such idiocy’
      • ‘When mom was told, she would not hear of such a thing.’
      • ‘In fact, the only reason she remained in school for so long was that her teachers would not hear of her being removed because she was such an excellent pupil.’
      • ‘She will not hear of his proposal because he is homeless and illiterate.’
      • ‘A neighbour of mine had a dog that was run over, it lost three of its legs, these caring people would not hear of the vet putting him down, so instead they used to take him out for a ‘drag’ a couple of times a day.’
      • ‘I will not hear of any lofty titles as long as I stay on this island!’
      • ‘The hotel would not hear of it and insisted it went to the courts.’
      • ‘The conservative government was gung ho about supporting our ally and would not hear of possible defeat; we would never cut and run.’
      • ‘He would not hear of my attending the funeral, or going for a day or two, to cheer poor Frederick's solitude.’
      • ‘Miss Reynolds, I will not hear of you traveling to Brighton unescorted.’
      • ‘She had wanted someone to roll it out for her, but the director would not hear of it.’
      • ‘He just hoped her mother would not hear of this because then she would no doubt be angry with him, letting her favorite daughter lift a finger and do something for herself.’
      • ‘She could have walked to Annie's house, which was only twice the distance to the diner, but Annie would not hear of her walking through town with all of her luggage, especially seeing as how she was the talk of the town.’
      • ‘I badly wanted to ride out and meet him, but Mama would not hear of it.’
      • ‘We offered to compensate the generous stranger but he would not hear of it.’
      • ‘Margaret would not hear of this and three years ago Victor left the matrimonial home.’
      • ‘I offered to process the roll and send him the shots that I had taken in his museum, but he would not hear of it.’
      • ‘But her mother, who had never once considered her child as anything but beautiful, would not hear of it.’
      • ‘Given my feeling about my own journals, when I ran across those kept by my friend's 89-year-old mother after her death, I would not hear of throwing them away.’
      • ‘When he wants to quit again, Maria will not hear of it.’
      • ‘‘I told you, I had to study,’ not to mention the fact that my mom would not hear of me going out on a school night.’
    7. 1.7Law Listen to and judge (a case or plaintiff)
      ‘an all-woman jury heard the case’
      • ‘It was pointed out that all other common law jurisdictions hear such cases in jury courts.’
      • ‘Four Scottish judges, sitting without a jury, are hearing the case.’
      • ‘To hear cases, the judges sit in Chambers of seven, appointed on a rotating basis from within each Section.’
      • ‘Accordingly I rule that this court has jurisdiction to hear this case against all defendants.’
      • ‘Three appeal court judges will hear the case on March 31 as he launches his fight against the conviction.’
      try, judge, sit in judgement on
      View synonyms
    8. 1.8Listen to and grant (a prayer)
      ‘our Heavenly Father has heard our prayers’
      • ‘The service beseeches God to hear the prayers of the community.’
      • ‘It said to him that his prayer had been heard and that soon his desire would be granted.’
      • ‘This is nothing short of God hearing a child's prayer and graciously giving him his heart's desire.’
      • ‘Then, we'll learn that Jesus is always with us, strengthening our faith and hearing our prayers.’
      • ‘That easy promise he'd made not to pray was the means of arousing him to meet the God who inspires and hears and answers prayer.’
      • ‘Would God hear my prayer, for a hundred million were praying for their loved ones?’
      • ‘We can place our full confidence in the One who called us by name and hears every prayer that springs from our hearts.’
      • ‘He heard my prayer, for when I went back to work after Christmas, a Christian lad started working alongside me.’
      • ‘But there is no record that He ever refused to hear the prayer of anyone; not even the lowest.’
      • ‘Does it mean my prayers are those of a nonbeliever and not worthy of being heard by my Lord?’
      • ‘Those prayers were heard, for God was preparing him for his future task.’
      • ‘Jesus hears our cries for help when we find strife in our lives, just as he hears our prayers of thanksgiving and praise when things are going well.’
      • ‘The tumult has at last been quieted, but it unclear whether the prayers have been heard.’
      • ‘Come, pray with me and understand that all of our prayers will be heard by the same God.’
      • ‘Following that meeting, my husband and I both felt strongly that the Lord had heard our prayers.’
      • ‘She finally understood that God had indeed heard her prayers every cold and lonely night.’
      • ‘When we intercede, God hears and answers our prayer.’


  • be hearing things

  • be unable to hear oneself think

    • informal Used to complain about very loud noise or music.

      ‘I hate bars where you can't hear yourself think’
      • ‘I searched for the giant reticulated python, lizards, macaque monkeys and flying lemurs for hours and hours in the deathly heat, almost unable to hear myself think with the screeching of insects and exotic birds.’
      • ‘She was so loud, the rest of the dining room was unable to hear themselves think.’
      • ‘If you have a room with a pool view you cannot lay down in your room because the noise is that bad you are unable to hear yourself think.’
      • ‘Angels vice president Tim Mead recalls being unable to hear himself think when the team was three outs from clinching the '86 ALCS, but he says the sustained intensity this postseason was far greater.’
      • ‘It is that urge to run out onto an opposing school's football field after an improbable upset or to be unable to hear yourself think over the roar of the home court anxiously awaiting the final buzzer.’
      • ‘They were so loud you could not even hear our rides, and we were unable to hear ourselves think, as if thinking is something we have to do!’
      • ‘I am unable to hear myself think because of the shouting in my right ear.’
  • hear! hear!

    • Used to express one's wholehearted agreement, especially with something said in a speech.

      • ‘We say, hear hear, it couldn't have happened to a nicer film/bloke.’
      • ‘My mother, who taught fourth grade for 30 years and became heartily sick of parents who insisted that she hand out high grades to undeserving kids in order not to damage their self-esteem, says ‘hear hear.’’
      • ‘The crew echoed with ‘hear hear’ and ‘damn straight.’’
      • ‘No one spoke until Maura called out ‘hear hear’ and the rest of the audience, though confused, clapped along and began to eat.’
  • hear tell of (or that)

    • Be informed of (or that)

      ‘I heard tell that he went out west’
      • ‘Only these are far larger than any I heard tell of as a boy, and all others who come here from outside say the same.’
      • ‘And I have heard tell that one of them was innocent!’
      • ‘I have even heard say that during training she won't even smile if there's not a good reason.’
      • ‘There were towers and pillars and Elizabeth had heard tell that there were hundreds of rooms, even though the glorious abode accommodated only one occupant.’
      • ‘When comedic actors go into drama - particularly when they're at the peak of their careers - you always hear tell that sometimes they won't ‘go all out’ because they're scared to death.’
      • ‘I have heard tell that there is a woman in this city who may know the whereabouts of this book.’
      • ‘Furthermore, I've heard tell that, like racehorses, modern blocks of flats all have one great-great grandaddy.’
      • ‘I've heard tell that in Poland there's been a tradition that young boys take sweets to school for girls, and men take flowers for women at work.’
      • ‘And I hear tell that there's a lot of beauty up there in Iceland.’
      • ‘I have even heard tell that some people don't answer the phone if they recognise the number and don't wish to speak to that person right now.’
      hear about, hear of, learn of, find out about, become aware of, be made aware of, be told about, be informed of, hear tell of, have brought to one's notice
      View synonyms


Old English hīeran, hēran, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hooren and German hören.