prick up ears


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prick up (one's) ears

To suddenly pay close attention to something. Be sure to prick up your ears if anything about the case is mentioned. I can't help but prick up my ears if I hear someone say my name—even if they aren't talking about me.
See also: ear, prick, up

prick up (one's) ears

To listen with attentive interest.
See also: ear, prick, up

prick up one's ears, to

To listen attentively. This term, which alludes to horses holding up their ears at a sudden noise, dates from the sixteenth century. Shakespeare used it in The Tempest (4.1): “Like unback’d colts, they prick’d their ears.”
See also: prick, up