prick up your 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 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
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
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.
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.
The performer played Kenneth Halliwell in Prick Up Your Ears, which ends as he murders his lover Joe Orton and prepares to take his own life.
THIS month's Outsiders' screening is Prick Up Your Ears, the bio-pic about brilliant playwright Joe Orton.
Since then, he's tackled roles including Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears, Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, the title role in Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mason Verger in Hannibal.
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.
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.
Molina's first claim to fame, you'll recall, was as Joe Orton's lover-killer, Kenneth Halliwell, in Prick Up Your Ears.
Three award-winning films have been scripted by Bennett: A Private Function (1985), Prick Up Your Ears (1989) and The Madness of King George (1995).
What I saw underneath was a kind of American, middle-aged, heterosexual TV-star version of Prick Up Your Ears," recalls Schrader, likening the script to the biography and biopic about the life of gay playwright Joe Orton, who was murdered by his lover.
Frears continued to mine public sex for erotic jolts in his subsequent Prick Up Your Ears.