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From be- (at, about) +‎ hear. Cognate with West Frisian beheare (to administer; manage), Dutch behoren (to belong).


behear (third-person singular simple present behears, present participle behearing, simple past and past participle beheard)

  1. (transitive, chiefly dated) To give ear to; hear (intently); attend (to); pay attention or give heed to; listen to.
    • 1826, Robin Hood:
      All that beheard three witty young men, 'Twas Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John, []
    • 1877, The Sunday magazine:
      In some incidental way he beheard him of the poor widow's difficulty, and at once the manhood in him asserted itself.
    • 1896, Edward Livermore Burlingame, Robert Bridges, Alfred Dashiell, Scribner's magazine, Volume 20:
      "Did you do it yoursel', Grizel ? God behears, she did it hersel!"
    • 1897, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lloyd Osbourne, Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson, The novels and tales of Robert Louis Stevenson:
      "The good Lord behear!" he exclaimed, stood stock-still for a moment, and waddled off at top speed towards the back door. "We must tell Aunt at once! [] "
    • 1901, A Book of romantic ballads:
      All that beheard his little footepage, As he watered his masters steed []
    • 1911, Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, Brother Copas:
      Or behear ye the sheep, to the husbanding rams how they bleat to the shade! Or behear ye the birds, at the Goddess' command how they sing unafraid!
    • 1972, Billboard - Aug 26, 1972:
      He has a touch so precise yet delicate that it is a joy to behear.
    • 1978, Jazz:
      We knew that feedback could affect the turntable/arm/cartridge resonances in ways unpleasant and unrealistic to behear. To our surprise, the Linn, compared against the est Japanese and European turntables, did sound better.
    • 1996, Musician:
      His cymbal wash during the five songs taken from a live Swedish radio broadcast is a wonder to behear.
    • 2008, The Wire:
      Still, this is a pretty joyous thing to behear.
    • 2012, Alan Goldsher, Modest Mouse:
      They worked completely in unison, doubling the parts in a mirror-like fashion that was a sight to behold and a sound to behear.