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  1. #1
    Silverobama is offline Senior Member
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    Default flea in one's ear

    Hi,

    What does this sentence mean?

    He has a flea in his ear about their relationship.

    Does it mean "He hates their relationship"?

  2. #2
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    Nersi is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: flea in one's ear

    a disconcerting rebuke or rebuff: The next time he shows his face around here he'll get a flea in his ear.

    an alerting hint. I will put a flea in his ear about what is happening in this place

  3. #3
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: flea in one's ear

    He has a flea in his ear about their relationship.

    I understand "a flea in his ear" in this example to mean that he is annoyed or bothered by the relationship, and that he has probably been complaining about it.
    If the "alerting hint" that Nersi mentions is appropriate here then it might suggest that he has been warned about some aspect of the relationship.

    The phrase can also have other slightly different meanings.
    "She didn't like his attitude and sent him away with a flea in his ear" means that she criticized him, told him something he didn't like hearing, told him off.

    not a teacher

  4. #4
    Silverobama is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: flea in one's ear

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    I have never heard the term before. Where did you hear it?
    American Heritage Dictionary.

  5. #5
    Silverobama is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: flea in one's ear

    Quote Originally Posted by JMurray View Post
    He has a flea in his ear about their relationship.

    I understand "a flea in his ear" in this example to mean that he is annoyed or bothered by the relationship, and that he has probably been complaining about it.
    If the "alerting hint" that Nersi mentions is appropriate here then it might suggest that he has been warned about some aspect of the relationship.

    The phrase can also have other slightly different meanings.
    "She didn't like his attitude and sent him away with a flea in his ear" means that she criticized him, told him something he didn't like hearing, told him off.

    not a teacher
    Is this idiom from Australia?

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: flea in one's ear

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverobama View Post
    Is this idiom from Australia?
    No, it's universal in the English-speaking world.

    It's always used metaphorically in the ways shown above. The way you used it in post #1 is just about the only way in which it is not used.

    You don't have a flea in the ear - you get one, come away with one, give somebody one, or send somebody away with one.

    Rover

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