Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Jamgirl is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    62
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Observant for ears

    I have often wondered if there is a word that means the same as 'observant', only relating to hearing, rather than sight. If you 'keep your eyes open' or 'peeled', you are observant. If you keep your ears open, you are...? Is there a word for this?

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,585
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    Hello Jamgirl, welcome to Using English!

    That's an interesting question. You "prick up your ears" when you hear something of interest; but I can't think of a similar phrase for "to listen out for something".

    "Alert" has a visual origin; "attentive" derives from the Latin "attendere", which literally means "to stretch or strain towards", but probably in the sense of "stretching one's mind towards", rather than "straining one's ears".

    So no, I can't think of an aural equivalent of "observant" or "vigilant"! Perhaps another member will do better...

    Have a pleasant evening,

    MrP

  3. #3
    Jamgirl is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    62
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    Thanks for your reply and your thoughts, MrP. I really don't think there is an answer to this one!

    Ah well...

    Jamgirl

  4. #4
    DavyBCN's Avatar
    DavyBCN is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Wales
      • Current Location:
      • Rwanda
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    346
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgirl View Post
    Thanks for your reply and your thoughts, MrP. I really don't think there is an answer to this one!
    Ah well...
    Jamgirl
    Perhaps attentive works?

  5. #5
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,045
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    What's wrong with these sentences?

    The listening panel observed that the new speakers sounded much better that the old ones. The observant listeners...

    The customers observed that the coffee was more bitter than usual. The observant customers noticed....

    One can observe that a summer day is much hotter than a winter night, even if one is blind.

    When he opened the refrigerator, he observed a horrible stench coming from the vegetable drawer.

  6. #6
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,585
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    Hello Mykwyner

    To my mind, "observe" has more of eyes about it than ears or noses; but as your examples show, that isn't necessarily the case for everyone.

    On a more serious note, I'm shaken by your detailed knowledge of recent events in my kitchen.

    All the best,

    MrP

  7. #7
    Jamgirl is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    62
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    Hello again
    This little question has been niggling at me and so I thought to myself, what would I call it if I were to make a word up for this purpose? I thought maybe 'audent'. I decided to look the word up on dictionary.com, and the word 'audient' was there, meaning 'listening, paying attention'. So it seems there IS a word describing 'Observant for ears'!
    Thought I'd just share that with you.

  8. #8
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,585
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    Now the trick is to work it into the conversation...

    Pondering "attentive" once more, I find the adj. "attent", with this quotation from 2 Chronicles:

    "Myne eares shall be attente unto prayer."

    MrP

  9. #9
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    11,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Observant for ears

    Borrowing from animals, attentive ears are often called "perked".

Similar Threads

  1. just wanna know that what should i do right now!
    By yen yee in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 17-Mar-2006, 16:07

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk