The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Ear \Ear\ ([=e]r), n. [AS. e['a]re; akin to OFries. ['a]re,
['a]r, OS. [=o]ra, D. oor, OHG. [=o]ra, G. ohr, Icel. eyra,
Sw. ["o]ra, Dan. ["o]re, Goth. auso, L. auris, Lith. ausis,
Russ. ukho, Gr. o'y^s; cf. L. audire to hear, Gr. 'ai`ein,
Skr. av to favor, protect. Cf. Auricle, Orillon.]
1. The organ of hearing; the external ear.
Note: In man and the higher vertebrates, the organ of hearing
is very complicated, and is divisible into three parts:
the external ear, which includes the pinna or auricle
and meatus or external opening; the middle ear, drum,
or tympanum; and the internal ear, or labyrinth. The
middle ear is a cavity connected by the Eustachian tube
with the pharynx, separated from the opening of the
external ear by the tympanic membrane, and containing a
chain of three small bones, or ossicles, named malleus,
incus, and stapes, which connect this membrane with the
internal ear. The essential part of the internal ear
where the fibers of the auditory nerve terminate, is
the membranous labyrinth, a complicated system of sacs
and tubes filled with a fluid (the endolymph), and
lodged in a cavity, called the bony labyrinth, in the
periotic bone. The membranous labyrinth does not
completely fill the bony labyrinth, but is partially
suspended in it in a fluid (the perilymph). The bony
labyrinth consists of a central cavity, the vestibule,
into which three semicircular canals and the canal of
the cochlea (spirally coiled in mammals) open. The
vestibular portion of the membranous labyrinth consists
of two sacs, the utriculus and sacculus, connected by a
narrow tube, into the former of which three membranous
semicircular canals open, while the latter is connected
with a membranous tube in the cochlea containing the
organ of Corti. By the help of the external ear the
sonorous vibrations of the air are concentrated upon
the tympanic membrane and set it vibrating, the chain
of bones in the middle ear transmits these vibrations
to the internal ear, where they cause certain delicate
structures in the organ of Corti, and other parts of
the membranous labyrinth, to stimulate the fibers of
the auditory nerve to transmit sonorous impulses to the
2. The sense of hearing; the perception of sounds; the power
of discriminating between different tones; as, a nice ear
for music; -- in the singular only.
Songs . . . not all ungrateful to thine ear.
3. That which resembles in shape or position the ear of an
animal; any prominence or projection on an object, --
usually one for support or attachment; a lug; a handle;
as, the ears of a tub, a skillet, or dish. The ears of a
boat are outside kneepieces near the bow. See Illust. of
(a) Same as Acroterium.
(b) Same as Crossette.
5. Privilege of being kindly heard; favor; attention.
Dionysius . . . would give no ear to his suit.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
About the ears, in close proximity to; near at hand.
By the ears, in close contest; as, to set by the ears; to
fall together by the ears; to be by the ears.
Button ear (in dogs), an ear which falls forward and
completely hides the inside.
Ear finger, the little finger.
Ear of Dionysius, a kind of ear trumpet with a flexible
tube; -- named from the Sicilian tyrant, who constructed a
device to overhear the prisoners in his dungeons.
Ear sand (Anat.), otoliths. See Otolith.
Ear snail (Zo["o]l.), any snail of the genus Auricula and
Ear stones (Anat.), otoliths. See Otolith.
Ear trumpet, an instrument to aid in hearing. It consists
of a tube broad at the outer end, and narrowing to a
slender extremity which enters the ear, thus collecting
and intensifying sounds so as to assist the hearing of a
partially deaf person.
Ear vesicle (Zo["o]l.), a simple auditory organ, occurring
in many worms, mollusks, etc. It consists of a small sac
containing a fluid and one or more solid concretions or
Rose ear (in dogs), an ear which folds backward and shows
part of the inside.
To give ear to, to listen to; to heed, as advice or one
advising. "Give ear unto my song." --Goldsmith.
To have one's ear, to be listened to with favor.
Up to the ears, deeply submerged; almost overwhelmed; as,
to be in trouble up to one's ears. [Colloq.]