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Used to emphasize that one is ready to hear or listen to someone or something. I'm listening—what really happened last night?
listen (to someone or something) with half an ear
To listen to someone or something intermittently or with only partial attention. Unfortunately, I don't remember what Mom said because I was only listening with half an ear while the game was on TV. Who won? I was only listening to the radio with half an ear when they made the announcement.
listen for (someone or something)
To be and remain attentive so as to hear some sound. You listen for Mary's car so we can get in our places to surprise her. Could you please turn down your music? I'm trying to listen for the pizza delivery guy.
listen in (on someone or something)
1. To join something in order to begin listening to it. The band is rehearsing in the studio next door, so I've been listening in on my lunch breaks. I'd to go listen in on the talk the professor is giving about early Modernism.
2. To listen to or overhear a conversation that one is not supposed to be a part of; to eavesdrop. Let's postpone this discussion until a later time—I think some people in the office are listening in on us. I wasn't trying to listen in on their argument, but they were speaking so loudly that it was impossible not to.
listen out for (someone or something)
To be and remain attentive so as to hear some sound. Primarily heard in UK. You listen out for Mary's car so we can get in our places to surprise her. Could you please turn down your music? I'm listening out for the pizza delivery guy.
1. To pay close attention to the sounds someone or something is making. The doctor listened to her breathing to see how serious the infections was. Pop the hood of your car, and I'll listen to the engine to see if I can tell what's wrong.
2. To obey someone or something; to follow someone's or something's instructions. Please listen to your father, Jonah. You've got to listen to your body and realize when you need to take a break.
listen to reason
To listen to, understand, and be persuaded by a rational assessment of a situation. Oh, I've tried talking to her about how dangerous her career is, but she just will not listen to reason. Unfortunately, three-year-olds don't yet listen to reason.
To begin paying attention and listening carefully (to someone or something). Usually said as a command. Listen up, Joe, this information concerns you as well. OK, listen up, everyone. We only have three hours to complete this project, so let's get to work.
In marketing, using a business's social media presence to learn what interests customers and how they view the business as a brand, with the goal of identifying trends that can be used to further the business in the future. A lot of big brands now engage in social listening and often end up offering products based on direct consumer suggestions.
stop, look, and listen
1. Literally, to stop before crossing a street or railroad, looking and listening to make sure no car or train is coming. Because we lived across the street from a huge park where we spent most of our time during the summers, our parents drilled it into us to always stop, look, and listen before crossing the road.
2. To exercise caution, prudence, or awareness in a dangerous, risky, or sensitive situation. We advise all our clients to stop, look, and listen before making any large investments like these. Just promise me that you'll always stop, look, and listen while you're traveling.
talk to the hand
A rude interjection meant to interrupt and dismiss what another person is saying. (Sometimes written or spoken in longer forms, such as, "talk to the hand, because the face isn't listening," or the like.) Dad: "Sarah, would you mind cleaning up the—" Sarah: "Talk to the hand, Dad! I've got too much going on to be dealing with chores around the house!" All of us were aghast when Jonathan turned to the police officer and said, "Talk to the hand, 'cause the face ain't interested!"
I'm listening.and I'm all ears.
Inf. You have my attention, so you should talk. Bob: Look, old pal. I want to talk to you about something. Tom: I'm listening. Bill: I guess I owe you an apology. Jane: I'm all ears.
listen for someone or something
to try to hear someone or something. I will have to let you in the front door if you come home late. I will listen for you. I am listening for the telephone.
listen in(on someone or something)
1. to join someone or a group as a listener. The band is rehearsing. Let's go listen in on them. It won't hurt to listen in, will it?
2. to eavesdrop on someone. Please don't try to listen in on us. This is a private conversation. I am not listening in. I was here first. You are talking too loud.
listen to reason
to yield to a reasonable argument; to take the reasonable course. Please listen to reason, and don't do something you'll regret. She got into trouble because she wouldn't listen to reason.
listen to someone or something
1. to pay attention to and hear someone or something. Listen to me! Hear what I have to say! I want to listen to his speech.
2. to heed someone, orders, or advice. Listen to me! Do what I tell you! You really should listen to his advice.
to listen carefully. (Usually a command.) Now, listen up! This is important. Listen up, you guys!
stop, look, and listen
to exercise caution, especially at street corners and railroad crossings, by stopping, looking to the left and to the right, and listening for approaching vehicles or a train. Sally's mother trained her to stop, look, and listen at every street corner. It is a good practice to stop, look, and listen at a railroad crossing.
1. Hear or overhear the conversation of others; eavesdrop. It is also put as listen in on, as in She listened in on her parents and learned they were planning a surprise party. [Early 1900s]
2. Tune in and listen to a broadcast, as in Were you listening in the other night when they played Beethoven's Fifth? [1920s]
listen to reason
Pay heed to sensible advice or argument, as in We can't let him rush into that job-it's time he listened to reason. [Mid-1700s]
listen with half an ear
If you listen to someone or something with half an ear, you listen but do not give them your full attention. She listened to the news with half an ear as she cleaned the bathroom. Gigi listened with half an ear to Yussef and Bassil, who were talking about their school days.
listen with half an earnot give your full attention to someone or something.
listen with half an ˈearnot listen with your full attention: I was watching television and listening with half an ear to what he was telling me. OPPOSITE: be all ears
To listen attentively to hear some sound; wait expectantly to hear something or someone: Listen for the doorbell—the pizza should be here soon.
1. To listen to something or to someone conversing without participating in the conversation: It is rude to listen in on other people's conversations. We put our ears to the door and listened in.
2. To tune in and listen to a broadcast: Listen in next week to the conclusion of our jazz concert series!
To pay attention closely; be attentive. Used chiefly as a command: Listen up—I'm only going to tell you this once! I want you to listen up and do what I tell you to do.
sent. Keep talking.; Make your explanation now. I’m sure there’s an explanation. Well, I’m listening.
in. to listen carefully. (Usually a command.) Now, listen up! This is important.
Pay attention, listen carefully. This slangy imperative probably originated in the armed forces during World War II and soon entered the civilian vocabulary. William Safire used it in a quotation, “I’m only going to say this once, so listen up” (New York Times Magazine, Sept. 28, 1980).
stop, look, and listen
Railroad crossing warning. Before the installation of gates and flashing lights, a road that crossed a railroad track had a post on which was an X. On the crossbars was written “stop look listen,” a phrase attributed to an anonymous engineer who through that immigrants who read only rudimentary English would be able to understand the three words and heed their warning. Now automatic devices warn motorists and pedestrians to be mindful of approaching trains.