1, 2. attend. Hear, listen apply to the perception of sound. To hear is to have such perception by means of the auditory sense: to hear distant bells. To listen is to give attention in order to hear and understand the meaning of a sound or sounds: to listen to what is being said; to listen for a well-known footstep.4. attend. 7. regard, heed.
O.E. heran (Anglian), (ge)hieran, hyran (W.Saxon), from P.Gmc. *khauzjianan (cf. O.N. hegra, O.Fris. hora, Du. horen, Ger. hören, Goth. hausjan), perhaps from PIE base *(s)keu- "to notice, observe." Spelling difference between hear and here developed 1200-1550. Hearing "listening to evidence in a court of law" is from 1576; hearsay is 1532 from phrase to hear say. O.E. also had the excellent adj. hiersum "ready to hear, obedient," lit. "hear-some" with suffix from handsome, etc. Hear, hear! (1689) was originally imperative, used as an exclamation to call attention to a speaker's words; now a general cheer of approval. Originally it was hear him!