Definition of hear in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Perceive 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’
    • ‘It helped her hear some vowel sounds in the lower frequencies, but that was all.’
    • ‘This may sound cruel but I hear catcalls and people pick on me enough outside my family home.’
    • ‘At 16 he awoke to his country's indigenous sounds after hearing traditional music played at his father's funeral.’
    • ‘Humans cannot generate or hear the high frequency sound waves generated by bats.’
    • ‘And yet it still sounded remarkable to hear the words that came yesterday.’
    • ‘It is through the use of pictures, sounds, and hearing the language on a daily basis that helps them to learn.’
    • ‘She stumbled out of the way just as she heard the voice, sounding quite irritated.’
    • ‘Her voice was so quite that he almost didn't hear her over the sound of the river.’
    • ‘I've never heard anyone with a sound scientific background argue that it's better for you.’
    • ‘Five minutes after that I heard seven bangs which sounded like firecrackers.’
    • ‘Whilst we were talking, we heard a sort of sound between a yelp and a bark.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I remember hearing the bus driver sounding his horn as if he was angry.’
    • ‘As Claire walked into the main corridor, she heard voices that sounded not too far off.’
    • ‘Perhaps they enjoy hearing me sound all ratty and scratchy, trying to be polite in the name of friendship.’
    • ‘The noise of the blast has left him struggling to hear high frequency sounds.’
    • ‘The roaring and crashing sounds she had heard the night before had not stopped either.’
    • ‘A neighbour reported hearing a thud that sounded like a garbage bag being dropped.’
    • ‘If you haven't heard the sound clip you really have to get with the programme.’
    perceive, catch, get, make out, take in, apprehend, discern
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Be 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 have heard about investment but what about investment in pensioners?’
      • ‘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 often hear of private records being dumped illegally or information being stolen.’
      • ‘Many people saw things as they were reported on the TV news, or heard about them on the radio as they drove along.’
      • ‘The mask, in a private collection, was unknown to researchers until Coe heard about it last year.’
      • ‘We only heard about the scandal at the Sheffield clinic on the news.’
      • ‘If anyone has more information, I would be most interested to hear of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most employees arriving for work early today had only heard about the merger on the early morning news.’
      • ‘Every time I talk to or hear of anyone studying anything at all, I get jealous.’
      • ‘I suspect we will hear of more research like this as mobile-phone using cohorts in the population age.’
      • ‘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 next news they heard about Belinda was a phone call in 1997 informing them she had been arrested.’
      • ‘I decided to investigate, using an experiment I'd heard about in New York City.’
      • ‘However, just about every murder case we hear of in the news involves a religious murderer.’
      • ‘I sent an email to the minister informing him that I expect to hear of his resignation in coming days.’
      • ‘He had first heard about the investigation on the radio and contacted the police.’
      • ‘She had not gone to work because she had heard about the bombs on the news.’
      • ‘This is the first question my friends asked me when they heard about the trip.’
      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. 1.2have heard ofno object Be aware of; know of the existence of.
      ‘nobody had ever heard of my college’
      • ‘I've never heard of a swimming pool anywhere in the world that has banned backstroke.’
      • ‘If you have heard of all three, you will realise just how truly irreplaceable John Peel is.’
      • ‘Just occasionally I hear a song by an artist I have never heard of that sticks in my mind for days.’
      • ‘I have not heard of a single new urban transport plan for the town which would make any difference.’
      • ‘After games he would drink just water to rehydrate himself before we had even heard of doing that.’
      • ‘The wife has arthritis and she went up to her specialist but he had never heard of it as a cure.’
      • ‘Few people outside the industry had heard of him and that's the way he liked it.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘If they haven't heard of the campaign, this will tell them what they need to know.’
      • ‘They certainly did not expect a choir most of them had never heard of to leapfrog them into third spot.’
      • ‘By far the most common reaction is that they have never heard of him, he doesn't even register.’
      • ‘What about lab technicians who are rarely heard of but whose competence can be a matter of life or death?’
      • ‘I have never heard of this before and wondered whether it could help the problem.’
      • ‘This is when all the people who don't give a toss or haven't heard of the scandal are still behind you.’
      • ‘They say the proposed change will associate them with a place most people have never even heard of.’
      • ‘We set up our site five years ago when many businesses hadn't even heard of e-commerce.’
      • ‘I'm the guy who makes part four and part five of movies where you haven't heard of the first one.’
      • ‘You probably haven't even heard of some of these people but we had a great time.’
      • ‘It is fair bet that like millions of Americans you never heard of any of this.’
      • ‘Dad ignores daughter if he passes her in the street and she wishes they had never heard of the Lottery.’
    3. 1.3hear fromno 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’
      • ‘We always love hearing from you, even if you have tattoos and pierced places on 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.’
      • ‘If you have a story or information you would like to be included we would love to hear from you.’
      • ‘He would love to hear from anyone who has examples of animal folklore or legend in Yorkshire.’
      • ‘The group is particularly keen to hear from people living close to mobile telephone masts.’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘This contact is sometimes the first time they have heard from their families for decades.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After a day without hearing from him, she contacted the police and began a search.’
      • ‘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 can shed some light on the great cowboy mystery.’
      • ‘I still have not heard from you following my last letter, and do not expect to for some months.’
      • ‘Not hearing from him, I contacted another friend in the UK, who had been in touch with his sister.’
      • ‘If you or one of your readers is interested in doing this we would love to hear from them.’
      • ‘If so the organisers of this year's Medieval Festival would love to hear from you.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've not spoken to her on the phone nor heard from her via letter for three years.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4 Listen or pay attention to.
      with clause ‘she just doesn't hear what I'm telling her’
      • ‘Anna started to speak to me again, and I listened, nodding, although not really hearing anything she had to say.’
      • ‘If he does not listen, the only other way to be heard is at the ballot box in November.’
      • ‘The Ivorians seemed willing to be heard, but none of them seemed willing to listen.’
      • ‘It knows the difference between listening and hearing.’
      • ‘He may be willing to listen but will he hear anything that's said?’
      • ‘James stood there listening the whole time but only heard half the conversation.’
      • ‘The children learn to open their hearts and to really listen to others and be heard by them.’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5hear someone out Listen to all that someone has to say.
      ‘Joseph gravely heard them out but never offered advice’
      • ‘Before you people start screaming, hear my case out.’
      • ‘So, I decided that I would hear them out and just listen.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As long as we exclude them and don't hear them out, we will allow them to continue their hate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The best never try to persuade the reader to believe them, only to hear them out, as Fort himself once did.’
    6. 1.6will/would not hear ofno object Will or would not allow or agree to.
      ‘I won't hear of such idiocy’
      • ‘The conservative government was gung ho about supporting our ally and would not hear of possible defeat; we would never cut and run.’
      • ‘The hotel would not hear of it and insisted it went to the courts.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We offered to compensate the generous stranger but he would not hear of it.’
      • ‘I badly wanted to ride out and meet him, but Mama would not hear of it.’
      • ‘I will not hear of any lofty titles as long as I stay on this island!’
      • ‘Margaret would not hear of this and three years ago Victor left the matrimonial home.’
      • ‘When mom was told, she would not hear of such a thing.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Miss Reynolds, I will not hear of you traveling to Brighton unescorted.’
      • ‘When he wants to quit again, Maria will not hear of it.’
      • ‘He would not hear of my attending the funeral, or going for a day or two, to cheer poor Frederick's solitude.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But her mother, who had never once considered her child as anything but beautiful, would not hear of it.’
      • ‘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 offered to process the roll and send him the shots that I had taken in his museum, but he would not hear of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She had wanted someone to roll it out for her, but the director would not hear of it.’
      • ‘She will not hear of his proposal because he is homeless and illiterate.’
    7. 1.7Law Listen to and judge (a case or plaintiff)
      ‘an all-woman jury heard the case’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was pointed out that all other common law jurisdictions hear such cases in jury courts.’
      • ‘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. 1.8 Listen to and grant (a prayer)
      ‘our Heavenly Father has heard our prayers’
      • ‘He heard my prayer, for when I went back to work after Christmas, a Christian lad started working alongside me.’
      • ‘Following that meeting, my husband and I both felt strongly that the Lord had heard our prayers.’
      • ‘Would God hear my prayer, for a hundred million were praying for their loved ones?’
      • ‘It said to him that his prayer had been heard and that soon his desire would be granted.’
      • ‘Does it mean my prayers are those of a nonbeliever and not worthy of being heard by my Lord?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Those prayers were heard, for God was preparing him for his future task.’
      • ‘She finally understood that God had indeed heard her prayers every cold and lonely night.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Come, pray with me and understand that all of our prayers will be heard by the same God.’
      • ‘But there is no record that He ever refused to hear the prayer of anyone; not even the lowest.’
      • ‘We can place our full confidence in the One who called us by name and hears every prayer that springs from our hearts.’
      • ‘The service beseeches God to hear the prayers of the community.’
      • ‘Then, we'll learn that Jesus is always with us, strengthening our faith and hearing our prayers.’
      • ‘The tumult has at last been quieted, but it unclear whether the prayers have been heard.’
      • ‘This is nothing short of God hearing a child's prayer and graciously giving him his heart's desire.’
      • ‘When we intercede, God hears and answers our prayer.’


  • 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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I am unable to hear myself think because of the shouting in my right ear.’
      • ‘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.’
  • hear! hear!

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

      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘We say, hear hear, it couldn't have happened to a nicer film/bloke.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘I have heard tell that there is a woman in this city who may know the whereabouts of this book.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have even heard say that during training she won't even smile if there's not a good reason.’
      • ‘And I hear tell that there's a lot of beauty up there in Iceland.’
      • ‘Furthermore, I've heard tell that, like racehorses, modern blocks of flats all have one great-great grandaddy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      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.