prick up your ears

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prick up (one's) ears

1. Literally, of an animal, to raise its ears, as upon hearing a sudden noise. The dogs pricked up their ears and started staring outside. I wonder what they heard.
2. To pay sudden close attention to something one overhears. 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in classic literature ?
"When His Majesty speaks to you," the Sentinel hastily whispered to Bruno, "you should prick up your ears!"
PRICK UP YOUR EARS LEE STAFFORD'S Cactus Crush Dazzle Drops are a nongreasy, lightweight serum, perfect for lack lustre hair.
PRICK UP YOUR EARS LEE STAFFORD'S Cactus Crush Dazzle Drops are a non-greasy, lightweight serum, perfect for lack lustre hair.
Career Molina's movie breakthrough came in 1987 when he played Kenneth Halliwell, the tragic lover of playwright Joe Orton, in Stephen Frears' Prick Up Your Ears. He was also outstanding in Enchanted April, The Perez Family, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Chocolat.
London, Oct 13 (ANI): Matt Lucas has pulled out of the West End play Prick Up Your Ears following the death of his ex-partner Kevin McGee.
Summary: Little Britain star Matt Lucas will not return to his stage role in Prick Up Your Ears following the death of his ex-partner.
Lucas temporarily left the west end production Prick Up Your Ears last week after the suicide of Kevin McGee.
THIS month's Outsiders' screening is Prick Up Your Ears, the bio-pic about brilliant playwright Joe Orton.
Stephen Frears (Prick Up Your Ears, My Beautiful Laundrette) directs.
I knew Chris played the guitar and sang but I had no idea that his group Prick Up Your Ears, which also "stars" Mike Wilson, Sky's financial wizard, was so good.
John Lahr's Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton was published in 1978.
I started reading Prick Up Your Ears at one point and had to put it down in panic because I was identifying so strongly w/ the boyfriend's story.
Prick Up Your Ears is both abiography of and an homage to the English playwright Joe Orton, who was killed in 1967, at the age of 34, by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell.
6 PRICK UP YOUR EARS (1987) THE destructive relationship of Loot and Entertaining Mr Sloane playwright Joe Orton and his older lover Kenneth Halliwell is brought to life by Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina.
MOSHI Monsters fans, prick up your ears! Yes, all parents looking for a cracking stocking filler for their little ones this Christmas will be queuing to snap up the first Moshi Monsters game - Moshlings Zoo - when it hits the UK gaming shelves on the Nintendo DS on November 11.