tin ear

(redirected from a tin ear)

tin ear

1. A lack of musical ability, especially in relation to proper pitch. Unfortunately, most karaoke singers have a tin ear.
2. The inability to recognize subtleties in language. Don't try to joke around with him—he has a tin ear and can't distinguish sarcasm.
See also: ear, tin

tin ear

Fig. a poor ear for music; a poor hearing ability when it comes to music and distinguishing pitches. I think I had better not try to sing along with you. I have a tin ear and would ruin your performance.
See also: ear, tin

tin ear

An insensitivity to conditions. The term, dating from the first half of the 1900s, was originally used for a person insensitive to music, in effect tone-deaf. In time, it was transferred to other kinds of insensitivity, as in “The President might also point out that BP is not on Americans’ most-trusted corporations list right now—partly because of its carelessness, partly because of its executive’s tin ear” (editorial, New York Times, June 12, 2010).
See also: ear, tin
References in periodicals archive ?
She has repeatedly shown she has a tin ear to the needs of those who rely on the state the most.
Ginny, 10, says, "My mom loves music, so she makes us kids play at least two instruments." Cool, unless you have a tin ear or prefer pottery.
Bayles has already declared that I am "a fool with a tin ear" for loving the Ramones, and I'm sure she considers my inability to enjoy most jazz a sign of ignorance or spiritual corruption on my part.
Encouraged by her ex husband (Hugh Grant) and with her wealth meaning few will challenge her, the wouldbe superstar with a tin ear gears up for the performance of her life at Carnegie Hall.
The more troubling shortcoming of the book is the fact that, despite its acknowledgment of the social and historical circumstances that inform the parallels it explores, Up from Bondage shows a tin ear for real politics throughout.
Encouraged by her ex husband (Hugh Grant) and with her wealth meaning few will challenge her, the would-be superstar with a tin ear gears up for the performance of her life at Carnegie Hall.