little pitchers have big ears

Cultural Dictionary

Little pitchers have big ears definition

Adults must be careful about what they say within the hearing of children. The saying refers to the large handles (ears) sometimes attached to small vessels.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

little pitchers have big ears

Young children often overhear something they should not. For example, Don't use any swear words around Brianlittle pitchers have big ears. This metaphoric expression, which likens the curved handle of a pitcher to the human ear, was already in John Heywood's proverb collection of 1546.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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