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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English heren, from Old English hīeran (to hear), from Proto-Germanic *hauzijaną (to hear), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ḱh₂owsyéti (to be sharp-eared), from *h₂eḱ- (sharp) + *h₂ows- (ear) + *-yéti (denominative suffix). Cognate with Saterland Frisian heere (to hear), West Frisian hearre (to hear), Dutch horen (to hear), German hören (to hear), Danish and Norwegian Bokmål høre (to hear), Norwegian Nynorsk høyra (to hear), Icelandic heyra (to hear), Ancient Greek ἀκούω (akoúō, I hear).



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

  1. (intransitive, stative) To perceive sounds through the ear. [from 10th c.]
    I was deaf, and now I can hear.
  2. (transitive, stative) 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, in 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, in 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. (with from) To be contacted by.
    • 2009, Elsa T. Aguries, The Pearl Within, →ISBN, page 141:
      When I don't hear from you, My days feel long and lonely.
    • 2012, Art Wiederhold & ‎Charles Sutphen, From the Depths of Evil, →ISBN, page 343:
      They're ten hours overdue. Have you heard from any of them since they left Nineveh?
    • 2012 -, James Meredith, A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America, →ISBN:
      She left and I never heard from her again.
  7. (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.
  8. (transitive, informal) To sympathize with; to understand the feelings or opinion of.
    You're tired of all the ads on TV? I hear ya.

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West Frisian[edit]


(This etymology is missing. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


hear c (plural hearen, diminutive hearke)

  1. lord
  2. nobleman
  3. gentleman

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • hear (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011