Be all ears


      • Listen attentively and with interest
        To show a heightened level of attention and focus on what is being said or shared by someone else

      • Be eager to hear or learn about something
        To express a strong desire or enthusiasm to know more about a topic or subject

    Examples of Be all ears

    • "I need you to be all ears and listen carefully to my suggestions for the project."

      This idiom means to give someone your undivided attention and listen carefully to what they have to say. It's as if you're literally listening with your ears, rather than being distracted by other things. In this example, the speaker is asking the listener to focus solely on their suggestions for the project, and not let any other distractions or thoughts interrupt their listening.


    The idiom "be all ears" is commonly used to convey two main intentions: to listen attentively and with interest, and to express eagerness to hear or learn about something. In both cases, the idiom suggests a high level of attention and focus on the information being shared or discussed.

    In the first meaning, "be all ears" is often used to encourage someone to pay close attention and actively engage in listening. This can be in a formal setting, such as a lecture or presentation, or in a more casual conversation. By using this idiom, the speaker is emphasizing the importance of actively listening and showing genuine interest in what is being said.

    The second meaning of "be all ears" is typically used to express eagerness or curiosity about a topic or subject. It can be used in a more informal setting, such as among friends discussing a new hobby or interest, or in a more serious context, such as a student eagerly awaiting a teacher's explanation of a difficult concept. In both cases, the idiom conveys a strong desire to learn and absorb new information.

    Origin of "Be all ears"

    The origin of the idiom "be all ears" is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in the 16th century. One theory suggests that it may have come from the image of a horse's or donkey's ears pricking up when they hear a new or unfamiliar sound. This could represent the heightened attention and curiosity conveyed by the idiom.

    Another theory suggests that the idiom may have originated from the phrase "prick up one's ears," which means to listen attentively. Over time, this phrase evolved into "be all ears" and became a common idiom in the English language.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "be all ears" has become a popular and widely used expression to convey a strong desire to listen and learn. It is a versatile idiom that can be used in various contexts, making it a valuable addition to any English speaker's vocabulary.