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English citations of listen

Verb (intrans.): to pay attention to[edit]

1594 1599 1608 1674 1726 1749 1787 1855 1886 1926 1995 2012 2016
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1594William Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew i 2 (First Folio)
    Listen to me, and if you speake me faire, Ile tel you newes indifferent good for either.
  • 1599William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar ii 4 (First Folio)
    Prythee, listen well: I heard a bussling Rumor like a Fray, And the winde brings it from the Capitoll.
  • 1608William Shakespeare, Pericles iv 2
    'Faith, they listened to me as they would have hearkened to their father's testament.
  • 1674John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V
    And in their motions harmony divine
    So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear
    Listens delighted.
  • 1726Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Part III, ch II
    This conversation they are apt to run into with the same temper that boys discover in delighting to hear terrible stories of spirits and hobgoblins, which they greedily listen to, and dare not go to bed for fear.
  • 1749Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, ch xii
    Here Allworthy concluded his sermon, to which Blifil had listened with the profoundest attention...
  • 1787Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers No. 33
    This is so clear a proposition, that moderation itself can scarcely listen to the railings which have been so copiously vented against this part of the plan, without emotions that disturb its equanimity.
  • 1855Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha, introduction
    Ye who love a nation’s legends,
    Love the ballads of a people,
    That like voices from afar off
    Call to us to pause and listen
  • 1886William Gladstone, Irish Home Rule Speech
    We have given Ireland a voice: we must all listen for a moment to what she says.
  • 1926H. P. Lovecraft, Pickman's Model
    Before long I was pretty nearly a devotee, and would listen for hours like a schoolboy to art theories and philosophic speculations wild enough to qualify him for the Danvers asylum.
  • 1995Bill Clinton, Presidential Radio Address (15 July)
    You may think that's amazing, but listen to this story.
  • 2012Gareth Roberts, Shada: The lost adventure by Douglas Adams, chapter 61, page 296
    ' [] Now listen, I need to tell you something. About the Professor.'
  • 2016 October 2nd, Nick Cohen, “Liberal guilt won’t fight nationalism” in The Guardian Weekly, volume 195, № 17 (30 September–6 October 2016), page 21/3:
    Meanwhile, the authoritarianism, which has turned left-liberalism into a movement for sneaks and prudes, was always going to play into the hands of the right. Free citizens have stopped listening to those who respond to the challenge of argument by screaming for the police to arrest the politically incorrect or for universities to ban speakers who depart from leftish orthodoxy.

Verb (intrans.): to expect or wait for a sound[edit]

1749 1841 1863 1885 1899 1912 1932 1936 1954 1969 2011
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1749Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, ch vi
    Like that little wretched animal, she pricks up her ears to listen after the voice of her pursuer; like her, flies away trembling when she hears it.
  • 1841Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, ch 55
    Some scraps of bread and meat were scattered about, and on these he fell next; eating them with voracity, and pausing every now and then to listen for some fancied noise outside.
  • 1863George Eliot, Romola, vol. II, ch VII, page 70
    She was not thinking of Fra Girolamo now; she was listening anxiously for the step of her husband.
  • 1885Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ch XL
    "Here, I'll lock some of you into the cabin, and you lay for 'em in the dark and kill 'em when they come; and the rest scatter around a piece, and listen if you can hear 'em coming."
  • 1899, Knut Hamsun, Hunger, translated by George Egerton, Part III, page 167
    I [] leant my head carefully against the door for a while, tapped with my forefinger on the floor, and then listened attentively, all without any object, but quietly and pensively as if it were some matter of importance in which I was engaged; []
  • 1912 January, Zane Grey, chapter 4, in Riders of the Purple Sage: A Novel, New York, N.Y.; London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, OCLC 6868219:
    He reined Wrangle to a walk, halted now and then to listen, and then proceeded cautiously with shifting and alert gaze.
  • 1932H. P. Lovecraft, Dreams in the Witch-House
    His pathologically sensitive ears began to listen for faint footfalls in the immemorially sealed loft overhead, and sometimes the illusion of such things was agonizingly realistic.
  • 1936Robert E. Howard, Red Nails
    He kept twisting his head on his shoulder to listen for sounds of pursuit, and stared with burning intensity into every doorway they passed.
  • 1954C. S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy, chapter 1
    The cottage, as he approached it, showed no light. When he listened at the front there was no noise.
  • 1969Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah, page 319
    Paul bent his head, listening. He no longer could hear the mourners.
  • 2011Dan Abnett, The Silent Stars Go By, chapter 5, page 68
    Hiding behind the tree, the only way he could tell how close the green thing was, was to listen, but he couldn't hear anything over his own panting. He held his breath. [] He held on, and listened. It felt like his eardrums were going to burst.

Verb (intrans.): to accept advice or obey instruction; to agree or assent[edit]

1596 1766 1873 1895 1918 1945 1954 1959 1999 2001
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1596William Shakespeare, King John iii 1 (First Folio)
    King Philip, listen to the Cardinall.
  • 1766, George Colman & David Garrick, The Clandestine Marriage, Act II.
    Lovew. But I ſee no probability of ſucceſs; for granting that Mr. Sterling wou'd have conſented to it at firſt, he cannot liſten to it now.
  • 1873 — William Lucas Collins, Plautus and Terence, chapter 4, page 93
    In vain has her father urged upon her and his other daughter, in accordance, no doubt, with the feeling of society on such points, the propriety of unprotected young women in their circumstances marrying again. Their husbands have now been absent, ostensibly on a trading voyage, for above three years, and have sent no word home. But Pamphila will listen to no such suggestion, and encourages her sister in steady resistance to all temptations to such breach of their first vows.
  • 1895Guy Boothby, A Bid for Fortune, chapter 2, page 41
    "It would be worse than useless at present, I fear. No, you must just leave it to me, and I'll do my best to talk him round. Ever since my mother died I have been as his right hand, and it will be strange if he does not listen to me and see reason in the end."
  • 1918L. Frank Baum, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, chapter 8
    "But it's good advice for the foolish," said the donkey, admiringly. "Listen to my partner, and you can't go wrong."
  • 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 3655473:
    Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies.
  • 1954C. S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy, chapter 10
    If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense.
  • 1959Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Part III, chapter 24
    He ground his teeth. "Tomorrow he will tell them that our fathers never fought a 'war of blame.' If they listen to him I shall leave them and plan my own revenge."
  • 1999 — Steve Lyons, The Final Sanction, chapter 11, page 93
    'Listen, you can't afford to think like that. You have to forget about it and move on.'
  • 2001 — Nick Walters, Superior Beings, chapter 22, page 234
    Kikker slammed his hands together. 'You spoke of her heresy — I should have listened.'

Verb (trans.): to hear (something)[edit]

1485 1592 1597 1830
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