- Anatomy The vertebrate organ of hearing, responsible for maintaining equilibrium as well as sensing sound and divided in mammals into the external ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear.
- Anatomy The part of this organ that is externally visible.
- An invertebrate organ analogous to the mammalian ear.
- The sense of hearing: a sound that grates on the ear.
- Sensitivity or receptiveness to sound, especially:
- Sharpness or refinement of hearing: a singer with a good ear for harmony.
- The ability to play a passage of music solely from hearing it: plays the piano by ear.
- Responsiveness to the sounds or forms of spoken language: a writer with a good ear for dialogue; has an ear for foreign languages.
- Sympathetic or favorable attention: "[The President] wavers between the two positions, depending on who last had his ear” ( Joseph C. Harsch).
- Something resembling the external ear in position or shape, especially:
- A flexible tuft of feathers located above the eyes of certain birds, such as owls, that functions in visual communication but not in hearing. Also called ear tuft.
- A projecting handle, as on a vase or pitcher.
- A small box in the upper corner of the page in a newspaper or periodical that contains a printed notice, such as promotional material or weather information.
- Informal Headphones.
- all ears Acutely attentive: Tell your story-we're all ears!
- coming out of (one's) ears In more than adequate amounts; overabundant.
- give To pay close attention; listen attentively.
- have To be on the watch for new trends or information.
- in one ear and out the other Without any influence or effect; unheeded: His mind was made up, so my arguments went in one ear and out the other.
- its In a state of amazement, excitement, or uproar: a controversial movie that set the film industry on its ear.
- play it by ear To act according to the circumstances; improvise: "He plays his negotiations by ear, going into them with no clear or fixed plan” ( George F. Kennan).
- up to (one's) ears Deeply involved or occupied fully: I'm up to my ears in work.
- The seed-bearing spike of a cereal plant, such as corn.
- To form or grow ears.