9 Grammatical Pitfalls

tin ear

an insensitivity to melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic variety in music.
an insensitivity to subtlety or appropriateness in verbal expression:
a tin ear for clear, precise prose.
Origin of tin ear
1915-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tin ear
  • Some writers have a tin ear when it comes to sliding a quotation nicely into a sentence.
  • Unfortunately, he will pay a large price for his political tin ear.
  • Conversely, he has also retained his tin ear for politics.
  • The right-wing jingoist who modified a perfectly good piece also had a tin ear.
  • It has proven once again that it has a tin ear when it comes to our public lands.
Slang definitions & phrases for tin ear


  1. A police officer's badge; potsy: Boone had to flash his tin (1949+ Police)
  2. A few grains of cocaine (1960s+ Narcotics)
  3. Money (1836+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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