turn a deaf ear


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Related to turn a deaf ear: Lend an Ear, falling on deaf ears

turn a deaf ear (to someone or something)

To ignore or refuse to listen to someone or something; to fail to pay attention to something someone says. The government has been turning a deaf ear to the pleas of its most vulnerable citizens. I'll never forgive myself for turning a deaf ear when my roommate was clearly crying out for help.
See also: deaf, ear, someone, turn

turn a deaf ear (to someone or something)

to ignore what someone says; to ignore a cry for help. How can you just turn a deaf ear to their cries for food and shelter? Jack turned a deaf ear to our pleading.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a deaf ear

Refuse to listen, as in You can plead all day but he's turning a deaf ear to everyone. This expression dates from the first half of the 1400s and was in most proverb collections from 1546 on. Also see fall on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a deaf ear

If you turn a deaf ear to something such as a request or argument, you refuse to consider it and do not pay any attention to it. She repeatedly complained to her employers but they turned a deaf ear. The Mayor of Paris, owner of two dogs, has long turned a deaf ear to Parisians who want tougher laws to protect the cleanliness of their pavements.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a deaf ˈear (to something)

refuse to listen (to something); ignore something: She turned a deaf ear to her husband’s advice and took the job anyway.
See also: deaf, ear, turn

turn a blind eye/deaf ear, to

To overlook something deliberately. One of these expressions appears to have a specific historic origin. In 1801 Lord Horatio Nelson, second in command of the English fleet, was besieging Copenhagen. The flagship had sent up signals for the fleet to withdraw, but Nelson wanted badly to attack. He had lost the sight of one eye at Calvi, so he put the glass to his blind eye and told his lieutenant he could see no signals to withdraw. His attack forced the French to surrender, a major victory. “Turning a deaf ear” to what one does not wish to hear is much older. Walter Hylton (Scala Perfeccionis) used it about 1440: “Make deef ere to hem as though thou herde hem not.” Versions of the cliché are found in all of the principal proverb collections from 1546 (John Heywood) to 1721 (James Kelly). See also fall on deaf ears.
See also: blind, deaf, eye, turn