hear

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English heren, from Old English hēran, hȳran, hīeran (to hear), from Proto-Germanic *hauzijaną (to hear), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ḱh₂owsyé- (to be sharp-eared), from *h₂eḱ- (sharp) + *h₂ows- (ear) + *yé- (denominative suffix). Compare Saterland Frisian heere (to hear), West Frisian hearre (to hear), Dutch horen (to hear), German hören (to hear), Danish høre (to hear), Icelandic heyra (to hear).

From the same Proto-Indo-European root *h₂ḱh₂owsyé- (to be sharp-eared), see Ancient Greek ἀκουστικός (akoustikós, auditory), from which English acoustic.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

hear (third-person singular simple present hears, present participle hearing, simple past and past participle heard)

  1. (intransitive) To perceive sounds through the ear. [from 10th c.]
    I was deaf, and now I can hear.
  2. (transitive) To perceive (a sound, or something producing a sound) with the ear, to recognize (something) in an auditory way. [from 10th c.]
    I heard a sound from outside the window.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, The Celebrity:
      Mr. Cooke at once began a tirade against the residents of Asquith for permitting a sandy and generally disgraceful condition of the roads. So roundly did he vituperate the inn management in particular, and with such a loud flow of words, that I trembled lest he should be heard on the veranda.
  3. (transitive) To exercise this faculty intentionally; to listen to. [from 10th c.]
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, John X:
      Agayne there was dissencion amonge the iewes for these sayinges, and many of them sayd: He hath the devyll, and is madde: why heare ye hym?
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 3, Death on the Centre Court:
      It had been his intention to go to Wimbledon, but as he himself said: “Why be blooming well frizzled when you can hear all the results over the wireless. And results are all that concern me. […]”
  4. (transitive) To listen favourably to; to grant (a request etc.). [from 10th c.]
    Eventually the king chose to hear her entreaties.
  5. (transitive) To receive information about; to come to learn of. [from 10th c.]
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost:
      Adam, soon as he heard / The fatal Trespass don by Eve, amaz'd, / Astonied stood and Blank [...].
  6. (transitive) To listen to (a person, case) in a court of law; to try. [from 12th c.]
    Your case will be heard at the end of the month.
  7. (transitive, informal) To sympathize with; to share the feeling or opinion of.
    You're tired of all the ads on TV? I hear ya.

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