listen

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English listnen, alteration (interpreted as frequentative of listen) from Old English hlysnan, from Proto-Germanic *hlūsinōną (compare Middle High German lüsenen), from *hlusēną (compare Old High German hlosēn), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlew- (to hear) (compare Ancient Greek κλαίω (klaíō, I make known, famous), Latin clueō (I am famous), Lithuanian klausýti, Old Church Slavonic слѹшати (slušati, to hear), Sanskrit श्रोषति (śróṣati). Related to loud.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: lĭs'ən, lĭs'n, IPA(key): /ˈlɪs.ən/, /ˈlɪs.n̩/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪsən
  • Hyphenation: lis‧ten

Verb[edit]

listen (third-person singular simple present listens, present participle listening, simple past and past participle listened)

  1. (intransitive) To pay attention to a sound or speech.
    Please listen carefully as I explain.  I like to listen to music.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      He read the letter aloud. Sophia listened with the studied air of one for whom, even in these days, a title possessed some surreptitious allurement.
  2. (intransitive) To expect or wait for a sound, such as a signal.
    You should listen for the starting gun.
    • 1906, Stanley J. Weyman, Chippinge Borough, chapterI:
      It was April 22, 1831, and a young man was walking down Whitehall in the direction of Parliament Street. []. He halted opposite the Privy Gardens, and, with his face turned skywards, listened until the sound of the Tower guns smote again on the ear and dispelled his doubts.
    • 1912, Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage, Chapter 4
      He reined Wrangle to a walk, halted now and then to listen, and then proceeded cautiously with shifting and alert gaze.
  3. (intransitive) To accept advice or obey instruction; to agree or assent.
    Listen, the only reason I yelled at you was because I was upset, OK?  Good children listen to their parents.
    • 1945, George Orwell, Animal Farm, chapter 1
      Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest [].
  4. (transitive, archaic) To hear (something or someone), to pay attention to.

Usage notes[edit]

In English, listen and hear are two primary verbs relating to audial perception. To hear represents automatic, unconscious, or passive perception of sound, while listen generally represents intentional, conscious, or purposeful use of the sense of hearing. The difference is expressed in the following quotation:

As the silence took hold in the darkness, Sam realized that she had been hearing, though not listening to, various low-level sounds—the hum of air conditioning and life support, the pulse of some faraway oxygen pump, the faint buzz of the electrical and lighting systems. —Justin Richards (1999) Demontage, chapter 5, page 92.

A similar distinction exists between see and watch in English.

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Danish[edit]

Noun[edit]

listen c

  1. definite singular of liste
  2. definite singular of list

Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

listen

  1. Plural form of list

Anagrams[edit]


German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Liste +‎ -en.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): [ˈlɪstn̩]
  • Hyphenation: lis‧ten
  • Homophone: Listen

Verb[edit]

listen (third-person singular simple present liste, past tense listete, past participle gelistet, auxiliary haben)

  1. to list

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Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

listen m, f

  1. definite masculine singular of liste

Spanish[edit]

Verb[edit]

listen

  1. Second-person plural (ustedes) imperative form of listar.
  2. Second-person plural (ustedes) present subjunctive form of listar.
  3. Third-person plural (ellos, ellas, also used with ustedes?) present subjunctive form of listar.

Swedish[edit]

Noun[edit]

listen

  1. definite singular of list