tin ear


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tin ear

1. A lack of musical ability, especially in relation to proper pitch. Unfortunately, most karaoke singers have a tin ear.
2. The inability to recognize subtleties in language. Don't try to joke around with him—he has a tin ear and can't distinguish sarcasm.
See also: ear, tin

tin ear

Fig. a poor ear for music; a poor hearing ability when it comes to music and distinguishing pitches. I think I had better not try to sing along with you. I have a tin ear and would ruin your performance.
See also: ear, tin

tin ear

An insensitivity to conditions. The term, dating from the first half of the 1900s, was originally used for a person insensitive to music, in effect tone-deaf. In time, it was transferred to other kinds of insensitivity, as in “The President might also point out that BP is not on Americans’ most-trusted corporations list right now—partly because of its carelessness, partly because of its executive’s tin ear” (editorial, New York Times, June 12, 2010).
See also: ear, tin
References in periodicals archive ?
"This behavior is consistent with the 'tin ear' shown by some lenders to state law enforcement.
Tin ear: "A 13-year-old girl was kidnapped BY a group OF youths and raped IN a vacant apartment IN East Hills complex ON Friday--the latest reported attack IN a series OF sexual assaults IN the neighborhood BY teenage boys since June."
Tin ear or no, you've got to start somewhere--and isn't it honorable and even brave of Dean to confront race and class head-on in these pussyfooting times?
And I think we would know whose tin ear was to blame.
Ginny, 10, says, "My mom loves music, so she makes us kids play at least two instruments." Cool, unless you have a tin ear or prefer pottery.
As for Marvell, a poet of "tin ear" but "fine calibrations" (208), "sometimes like Donne he puts his mind to a problem.
If there is one incontrovertible truth, it is that nothing but nothing can kill a good idea quicker than the tin ear and narrow mind of a local politician.
The translator, unlike many others, who seem to have a tin ear for real speech patterns, has produced smooth, idiomatic, and lively English versions of Gao's plays.
From a March 3, 1999, FBI recording of alleged New Jersey mafiosi Anthony Rotondo, Joseph (Tin Ear) Sclafani, Billy Lnu, and a cooperating witness.
Typo or tin ear, I don't know which, but the editor should have rescued the writer from this dreadful failure to see the need for lugged.
For Ellis, critics who focus on "a single factor" inevitably display a tin ear when it comes to literature.
Hoffmann's language about music provide material relating to two central figures in the 'Golden Age' of German literature, whilst George Schoolfield writes with his usual irony and erudition about the tin ear of Rainer Maria Rilke, the most 'musical' of poets.
In fact, the regular impersonation of Ghani by comic actor Mohammad Ibrahim Abed -- who casually mocks the president's peevishness and political tin ear -- is so popular that even palace aides call the show to complain if a Friday passes with no Alec Baldwin-like roast of their boss.
The Joint Ministerial Committee have become discredited because the Tories have given them the tin ear. They need to be recast as a serious forum.