pin ears back
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pin back (one's) ears
1. To harshly reprimand one. Also seen as "pin (one's) ears back." The principal pinned back Jeff's ears for what he did in the cafeteria. My parents are going to pin my ears back if I'm not home by curfew.
2. To definitively defeat one. Also seen as "pin (one's) ears back." I knew the other team was better, but I didn't think they would pin back our ears so dominantly. Dude, Kristina is a star tennis player—she's going to pin your ears back out there.
3. To beat or strike one, especially targeting the head. Also seen as "pin (one's) ears back." Talk to me like that again and I'll pin back your ears, boy! Don't cross Rufus or he'll pin your ears back. I've seen him do it.
4. To listen carefully. Typically used as an imperative. Also seen as "pin (one's) ears back." Primarily heard in UK. Pin back your ears while the teacher is talking so you don't miss the assignment. My boss told me to pin my ears back during the meeting, but I was already listening closely.
pin someone's ears back
1. Fig. to beat someone, especially about the head. Don't talk to me like that or I will pin your ears back! Max wanted to pin back Lefty's ears for making fun of him.
2. Fig. to give someone a good scolding. Did you hear him? He really pinned Chuck's ears back. He pinned back Chuck's ears.