Idioms: All ears

Prick up your ears for these 10 idioms using the word "ear"!

  1. play it by ear—do something without a plan; improvise.
  2. lend an ear—to pay attention; listen.
  3. in one ear and out the other—heard without making an impression. ("My son never listens to me. Everything I say goes in one ear and out the other!")
  4. be all ears—to listen closely.
  5. out of earshot—too far away to hear. (Often used when you're saying something that you don't want someone else to hear, so you wait until they're out of earshot.)
  6. up to your ears in—overwhelmed by (e.g., work, debt, trouble).
  7. coming out your ears—have a huge amount of something. ("I've put together so many projects this week, I've got Powerpoint slides coming out my ears!")
  8. a word in the ear—confidential advice.
  9. have your ear to the ground—be well-informed and tuned into further developments.
  10. can't believe your ears—to be shocked at something you hear.


  • Are your ears burning? —Said to someone when you've been talking about them without them knowing.

Idioms are an important part of English communication. For more, take a look at the Business Idioms course. Not only will you learn plenty of idioms, you'll clearly understand the contexts you can use them.

to prick up your ears—to listen closely; become suddenly interested.