walls have ears, the

Idioms & Phrases

walls have ears, the

The conversation is easily overheard, someone is listening, as in Be careful what you say; the walls have ears. This saying may come from a story about Dionysius of Syracuse (430-367 b.c.), who had an ear-shaped cave cut and connected between the rooms of his palace so that he could hear what was being said from another room. Similar listening posts were installed in other palaces over the centuries, including the Louvre in Paris. In English the phrase was first recorded in its present form in 1620.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: walls have ears
Next Definition: wallsend
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for walls have ears, the
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing walls have ears, the
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature