follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

listen

[lis-uh n] /ˈlɪs ən/
verb (used without object)
1.
to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear.
2.
to pay attention; heed; obey (often followed by to):
Children don't always listen to their parents.
3.
to wait attentively for a sound (usually followed by for):
to listen for sounds of their return.
4.
Informal. to convey a particular impression to the hearer; sound:
The new recording doesn't listen as well as the old one.
verb (used with object)
5.
Archaic. to give ear to; hear.
Verb phrases
6.
listen in,
  1. to listen to a radio or television broadcast:
    Listen in tomorrow for the names of the lottery winners.
  2. to overhear a conversation or communication, especially by telephone; eavesdrop:
    Someone was listening in to his private calls.
Origin
950
before 950; Middle English lis(t)nen, Old English hlysnan; cognate with Middle High German lüsenen, Swedish lyssna; akin to list5
Related forms
listener, noun
relisten, verb
unlistening, adjective
Synonyms
1. See hear.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for listen
  • Most of all, they need to listen carefully to their customers, paying close attention to what they do and don't want.
  • If you want a big swig of despair, listen to the people who know something about the global economy.
  • Without telling them the composer, he asks them to listen to it and write down their impressions.
  • Once the subscription expires at the end of the year, you can still listen to the tracks.
  • Then there's all the energy used to let you listen to me.
  • It was annoying to listen to it at night and that particular mouse died much earlier than the others.
  • So as sunset sweeps across the sky, settle down to listen to the fire crackle and watch its glow light up the faces around you.
  • Fortunately the biologists did not listen to us philosophers.
  • Consumers often moan that companies do not listen to them.
  • The sad thing really is that people listen to these crackers.
British Dictionary definitions for listen

listen

/ˈlɪsən/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to concentrate on hearing something
2.
to take heed; pay attention: I told you many times but you wouldn't listen
Derived Forms
listener, noun
Word Origin
Old English hlysnan; related to Old High German lūstrēn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for listen
v.

Old English hlysnan "to listen," from Proto-Germanic *khlusinon (cf. Dutch luisteren, Old High German hlosen "to listen," German lauschen "to listen"), from PIE root *kleu- "hearing, to hear" (cf. Sanskrit srnoti "hears," srosati "hears, obeys;" Avestan sraothra "ear;" Middle Persian srod "hearing, sound;" Lithuanian klausau "to hear," slove "splendor, honor;" Old Church Slavonic slusati "to hear," slava "fame, glory," slovo "word;" Greek klyo "hear, be called," kleos "report, rumor, fame glory," kleio "make famous;" Latin cluere "to hear oneself called, be spoken of;" Old Irish ro-clui-nethar "hears," clunim "I hear," clu "fame, glory," cluada "ears;" Welsh clywaf "I hear;" Old English hlud "loud," hleoðor "tone, tune;" Old High German hlut "sound;" Gothic hiluþ "listening, attention"). The -t- probably is by influence of Old English hlystan (see list (v.2)). For vowel evolution, see bury. As a noun from 1788 (on the listen "alert").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for listen

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for listen

6
8
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with listen

Nearby words for listen