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listen in (on someone or something)
1. To attend something so that one may listen to it without participating directly. The band is rehearsing in the studio next door, so I've been listening in during my lunch breaks. I'd like to go listen in on the lecture the professor is giving at the museum about early Modernism.
2. To listen to or overhear a conversation that one is not supposed to be a part of; to eavesdrop (on someone or something). Let's postpone this discussion until a later time—I think some people in the office are listening in. I wasn't trying to listen in on their argument, but they were speaking so loudly that it was impossible not to.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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!
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.