tin ear

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tin ear (plural tin ears)

  1. (idiomatic) Insensitivity to and inability to appreciate the elements of performed music or the rhythm, elegance, or nuances of language.
    • 1973, Thomas Cable, "A Garland of Pomposities: Comment on Halle-Keyser Prosody," College English, vol. 34, no. 4, p. 593:
      Despite their careless scholarship and a less tangible quality that some would call a tin ear for poetry, Morris Halle and S. J. Keyser, as metrists, have the considerable virtue of explicitness.
  2. (idiomatic) Insensitivity to the nuances of the current situation or the subtleties of a craft; indifference to somebody else's attitudes, moods and dialouge.
    • 2012, Ripping yarns: A revived spat between Japan and South Korea unsettles the United States, The Economist, 18 August 2012
      Japan has often displayed a tin ear to South Korean sensitivities over the island, which it calls Takeshima, having acquired it in the process of annexing Korea.
    • 2020 December 2, Philip Haigh, “A winter of discontent caused by threat of union action”, in Rail, page 63:
      With the economy as it is, I think the RMT has a tin ear to think it will find sympathy or public support for strike action. I hope sense prevails,


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