prick up (one's) ears


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prick up (one's) ears

To suddenly pay close attention to something. Be sure to prick up your ears if anything about the case is mentioned. I can't help but prick up my ears if I hear someone say my name—even if they aren't talking about me.
See also: ear, prick, up

prick up one's ears

Listen carefully, pay close attention, as in When she heard them mention her boyfriend she pricked up her ears. This term alludes to horses raising their ears at a sudden noise. [Late 1500s]
See also: ear, prick, up

prick up your ears

If someone pricks up their ears, they start listening eagerly, because they suddenly hear an interesting sound or piece of information. Olivia pricked up her ears at the mention of James. Note: You can also say that someone's ears prick up. My ears pricked up when I heard her talk about food. Note: When animals such as dogs hear a sudden or unfamiliar noise, they prick up their ears; that is, their ears become more upright so that they can hear the sound better.
See also: ear, prick, up

prick up your ears

1 (especially of a horse or dog) make the ears stand erect when on the alert. 2 (of a person) become suddenly attentive.
See also: ear, prick, up

ˌprick up your ˈears

,

your ˈears prick up

start to listen carefully: ‘And the winner is ...’ He pricked up his ears. ‘... Michael Poole.’
This expression refers to the way dogs, horses and other animals raise their ears when they listen with attention.
See also: ear, prick, up

prick up (one's) ears

To listen with attentive interest.
See also: ear, prick, up