deaf

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are you deaf?

Asked rhetorically and sarcastically to someone who appears not to be listening or who is not following instructions. Due to its negative connotation, the phrase is considered offensive to those who are actually hearing-impaired. Hello? Are you deaf? I asked you when you would have this report finished. I've told you how to do this five times now. Are you deaf?

preach to deaf ears

To present arguments to or attempt to persuade or advise those who have no inclination to change their opinion or belief. You're preaching to deaf ears if you think you can convince these kids to stay away from alcohol before they turn 21. Even though they know they're preaching to deaf ears, the hate group makes a point of holding protests outside churches and the funerals of slain soldiers.
See also: deaf, ear, preach

deaf as an adder

Unable to hear anything. The deafness of an adder is referred to in the Bible. A: "I'm shouting, and he's ignoring me!" B: "Oh, he's deaf as an adder! Write down whatever you're trying to communicate to him." What are you, deaf as an adder? You hear me calling you for dinner, so get in here!
See also: adder, deaf

there's none so deaf as those that will not hear

People who choose not to listen will never hear what is being said. You can try to reason with him all you want, but his mind is made up. There's none so deaf as those that will not hear.
See also: deaf, hear, none, not, that, those, will

be as deaf as a post

To be unable to hear well or at all. I hope grandpa wears his hearing aid to dinner tonight because he's as deaf as a post without it. After years of listening to loud rock music, I'm deaf as a post.
See also: deaf, post

(as) deaf as a post

Unable to hear well or at all. I hope grandpa wears his hearing aid to dinner tonight because he's as deaf as a post without it. After years of listening to loud rock music, I'm deaf as a post.
See also: deaf, post

deaf and dumb

rude Unable to hear or speak. I'm afraid that the head trauma has left Lady Edwina deaf and dumb, so we will need to find a new way to communicate with her.
See also: and, deaf, dumb

fall on deaf ears

To be ignored. The hate group makes a point of holding protests outside churches and the funerals of slain soldiers, even though they know their words are likely falling on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

deaf and dumb

unable to hear or speak. (Used without any intended malice, but no longer considered polite. Sometimes euphemized as "hearing and speech impaired.") Fred objected to being called deaf and dumb. Aunt Clara—she was deaf and dumb, you know—lived to be over 100.
See also: and, deaf, dumb

*deaf as a post

deaf. (*Also:as ~.) When my cousin was a teenager, she played her drum set without ear protection, and she was as deaf as a post by the age of twenty-five. Mark can't hear you even if you shout; he's deaf as a post.
See also: deaf, post

fall on deaf ears

Fig. [for talk or ideas] to be ignored by the persons they were intended for. Her pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears; the judge gave her the maximum sentence. All of Sally's good advice fell on deaf ears. Walter had made up his own mind.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

There's none so deaf as those who will not hear.

Prov. If you tell someone something that he or she does not want to know, he or she will not pay attention to you. I tried repeatedly to tell my supervisor about the low morale in our department, but there's none so deaf as those who will not hear.
See also: deaf, hear, none, not, those, who, will

turn a deaf ear (to someone or something)

to ignore what someone says; to ignore a cry for help. How can you just turn a deaf ear to their cries for food and shelter? Jack turned a deaf ear to our pleading.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

deaf as a post

Also, deaf as an adder. Unable to hear or to listen, as in Speak louder, Grandpa's deaf as a post. The first simile has its origin in John Palsgrave's Acolastus (1540): "How deaf an ear I intended to give him ... he were as good to tell his tale to a post." It has largely replaced deaf as an adder, alluding to an ancient belief that adders cannot hear; it is recorded in the Bible (Psalms 58:3-5).
See also: deaf, post

fall on deaf ears

Be ignored or disregarded, as in Any advice we give them about remodeling seems to fall on deaf ears. This expression transfers physical inability to hear to someone who does not want to listen. [1400s] Also see turn a deaf ear.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

stone deaf

Totally unable to hear, as in Poor Grandpa, in the last year he's become stone deaf. [First half of 1800s]
See also: deaf, stone

turn a deaf ear

Refuse to listen, as in You can plead all day but he's turning a deaf ear to everyone. This expression dates from the first half of the 1400s and was in most proverb collections from 1546 on. Also see fall on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

deaf as a post

OLD-FASHIONED
If someone is as deaf as a post, they are very deaf. My Dad is as deaf as a post.
See also: deaf, post

turn a deaf ear

If you turn a deaf ear to something such as a request or argument, you refuse to consider it and do not pay any attention to it. She repeatedly complained to her employers but they turned a deaf ear. The Mayor of Paris, owner of two dogs, has long turned a deaf ear to Parisians who want tougher laws to protect the cleanliness of their pavements.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

fall on deaf ears

COMMON If something you say to someone, especially a request, falls on deaf ears, they take no notice of what you have said. Sadly, this appeal is likely to fall on deaf ears. The mayor spoke privately to Gibbs yesterday and asked him to resign, but his plea fell on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

deaf as an adder (or a post)

completely or extremely deaf.
The traditional deafness of an adder is based on an image in Psalm 58:4: ‘the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear’.
See also: adder, deaf

fall on deaf ears

(of a statement or request) be ignored by others.
1990 Ellen Kuzwayo Sit Down and Listen All efforts by her husband to dissuade her from wishing to leave fell on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

dialogue of the deaf

a discussion in which each party is unresponsive to what the others say.
The French equivalent dialogue des sourds is also sometimes used in English.
See also: deaf, dialogue, of

(as) deaf as a ˈpost

(informal) unable to hear anything: You’ll have to shout if you want her to hear you. She’s as deaf as a post.
See also: deaf, post

fall on deaf ˈears

(of a question, request, etc.) be ignored or not noticed: Our request for money fell on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

turn a deaf ˈear (to something)

refuse to listen (to something); ignore something: She turned a deaf ear to her husband’s advice and took the job anyway.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

fall on deaf ears

To go unheeded; be ignored completely: "Moscow's own familiar charges ... will also fall on deaf ears" (Foreign Affairs).
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on
References in periodicals archive ?
Robert Cecil's scheme to "privatize" naval defence, in the hands of a merchant syndicate, was stillborn; his appeals to parliament to shoulder defence costs, between 1590 and 1610, fell on deaf ears, made deafer by peace with Spain after 1604.
I'd get more tottery, deafer, more short-sighted, more housebound, more bored, lose my memory, etc.
I'd get less mobile and deafer, no doubt, but it was ridiculous to say "more bored".
In another 10 years I'll be heading towards 50 and even deafer.
I think we're all going deafer because we're subjected to more noise pollution.
I'm sure the walls are not as thin as you fear - and besides, as people become older, they usually get deafer.