1 part of the body
ADJ. left, right | inner, middle, outer | big, large | long a rabbit with long floppy ears | pointed/pointy | floppy | torn Blood from his torn ear was soaking his collar. | sharp His sharp ears had picked up the uncertainty in her voice. | trained To the trained ear the calls of these birds sound quite different. | listening In the silence everyone seemed to be aware of listening ears. | receptive, sympathetic She did not like the scheme, as she made clear every time she found a receptive ear (= sb willing to listen). The counsellor provided a sympathetic ear for students with problems.
VERB + EAR plug He plugged his ears with tissue paper to drown out the music. | close, shut, stop At first I stopped my ears to what I did not want to hear. | strain I strained my ears to catch the conversation in the other room. | prick up The dog pricked up its ears. | flatten, lay back, put back A horse may show annoyance by putting its ears back. | pierce I've just had my ears pierced so I'm going to buy some earrings. | syringe He could hear much better after having his ears syringed. | echo in, ring in The voices buzzing all around echoed in her ears. He went home with the teacher's warning ringing in his ears. | hiss in, whisper (sth) in | reach If news of the break-in reaches the boss's ears, we're in trouble.
EAR + VERB hear sth, pick sth up When the notes are played so close together the ear hears no space between them. | prick (up), twitch His ears pricked up when he heard his name mentioned. | be alert He waited in the darkness, his ears alert for the slightest sound. | strain She stood outside the room, her ears straining to hear what they were saying. | pop If you suck a sweet as the plane takes off it stops your ears popping. | ring The explosion set my ears ringing and even made me jump a bit.
EAR + NOUN canal, drum, lobe | infection | plug, protector | flap, muffs She put on her ear muffs and went out into the snow. | wax
PREP. in your ~ ‘Taxi?’ said a voice in my ear.
PHRASES beam/grin/smile from ear to ear, can't believe your ears She actually apologized. I couldn't believe my ears! | (drop/have) a word in sb's ear Drop a quiet word in her ear about it before it's too late. | fall on deaf ears Their complaints about the poor service fell on deaf ears (= were ignored). | for sb's ears alone I have a few words for your ears alone. | keep your ears open I'll keep my ears open for a second-hand bike for you. | music to sb's ears He arrived home hungry, and the noise of saucepans from the kitchen was music to his ears. | turn a deaf ear to sth The teacher turned a deaf ear to the boy's swearing (= ignored it). | with half an ear He listened to her with only half an ear as he watched TV.
2 ability to recognize sounds
ADJ. fine, good
VERB + EAR have
PREP. by ~ She usually plays the guitar by ear, rather than reading the music. | ~ for He has a good ear for accents and can usually tell where a speaker comes from.