Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default To fall on deaf ears

    Q: What does it mean to fall on deaf ears?
    A: It means that the person responds as if deaf. Example:
    She doesn't pay attention to anything I say. Everything I say to her falls on deaf ears.
    ~R

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    169
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To fall on deaf ears

    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
    If you doubt the information, please get a qualified opinion from one of the teachers on these forums.]

    I would say more that it means the person entirely ignores an issue, not actual words, just as though they were deaf.

    I would also say that it is used formally and for the imaginary representation of communication, not the actual words or sound (like a plea, or suggestion or request). I would go even further to say this saying implies the ears of many, and not the two ears of a person, but I can't prove that, it's just a feeling.

    My suggestions to my girlfriend to change her ways continue to fall on deaf ears. (I wouldn't say this myself, as the g/f is one person)

    The citizens were constantly opressed, but their plea to the UN for aid fell on deaf ears.

    My wife was gravely ill, but my request to my supervisors for leave fell on deaf ears.

    Your suggestion to the clergy that they should live by tested morals and not by proscribed rules will most certainly fall on deaf ears.

  3. #3
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To fall on deaf ears

    Hm.

    something falls on deaf ears
    a statement, opinion, or suggestion is ignored. Jennifer suggested that Harold should get a job, but of course her advice fell on deaf ears.
    falls on deaf ears - Idioms - by the Free Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

    fall on deaf ears if a request or advice falls on deaf ears, people ignore it. Appeals to release the hostages fell on deaf ears. Warnings that sunbathing can lead to skin cancer have largely fallen on deaf ears in Britain.
    fall on deaf ears - Idioms - by the Free Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

    It can apply to one person or more than one person. (Harold is only one person, but he has two ears.)

    ~R

  4. #4
    Veron1's Avatar
    Veron1 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    882
    Post Thanks / Like

    Smile Re: To fall on deaf ears

    Thanks very much

    I.A

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    169
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To fall on deaf ears

    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
    If you doubt the information, please get a qualified opinion from one of the teachers on these forums.]


    Quote Originally Posted by weiming View Post
    I would go even further to say this saying implies the ears of many, and not the two ears of a person, but I can't prove that, it's just a feeling.


    Each reference here shows the prhase to be referring to to groups of people.


    http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/sayingsf.htm

    RonBee>

    I personally would never use such a formal phrase in the colloquial, informal context of your first example.

    The second example you provide (clearly indicating the plural and a Newspaper-like formality) is the sense in which I would use this phrase.

    But then as I've clearly mentioned, this is my own personal preference.

    For the interested, I would suggest "turn a deaf ear" when referring to an individual or group informally as:

    Harold turned a deaf ear to my suggestion.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    42,736
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To fall on deaf ears

    It doesn't strike me as a particularly formal idiom, to be honest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    169
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To fall on deaf ears

    It seems to have been somewhat "de-formalised", as idioms tend to go...

Similar Threads

  1. fall vs fall down vs drop
    By ckcgordon in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 04-Jul-2009, 12:12
  2. the Niagara fall or Niagara fall
    By 1364 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 23-Jan-2008, 19:18
  3. don't fall for this
    By namsteven in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-Dec-2006, 01:31
  4. fall short of
    By Korusan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 14-Dec-2006, 05:04
  5. PREPOSITION ON/IN....AS vs. LIKE....The verb FALL.
    By Jesule in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 27-May-2006, 10:17

Posting Permissions

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