Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ear n.1

[resemblance]

(US black) a tuning peg on a guitar or fiddle.

in Slave Narratives: South Carolina Pt I (2007) 74: I see Marse Thomas a twistin’ de ears on a fiddle and rosinin’ de bow .

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

earful (n.)

see separate entry.

In compounds

earbash/basher/bashing

see separate entries.

earbiter/biting

see separate entries.

earflap (n.)

(US) an ear; usu. in pl.

O.W. Holmes De Sauty in Poetical Works (1895) 157: Pretermit thy whittling, wheel thine ear-flap toward me, Thou shalt hear them answered.
[US]B. Appel Power-House 386: This time I didn’t keep my ear-flaps open.
earguard (n.) [SE earguard, a small flap attached to a cap and covering the ear]

(Aus.) short side-whiskers or sideboards.

Camden News (NSW) 19 Dec. 10/3: He wore on his rubicund lace a full set of grey whiskers, of the brand technically known as ear-guards.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 27: Earguards, small side-whiskers.
earhole

see separate entries.

earhustle/hustler

see separate entries.

ear job (n.) [job n.2 (2)]

1. (US) a kissing and caressing of someone’s ear with the tongue.

[US]G.L. Coon Short End 192: But I should have been in the Big House or the Paradise or someplace, stoned and getting stonier, getting an ear job or maybe in a fight [HDAS].
[US]‘Begmealot’ ‘Adventures of Tray and Jay’ Part 17, on Nifty Erotic Stories Archive [Internet] I went wild, I gave him an ear job to end all! I licked and slurped and nibbled and panted and grunted.
Nashville Scene 6–12 Feb. [Internet] I eased back down to the Mold Dog booth, and while he was between can chases, I knelt down beside him. Well, don’t you know, the little sumbitch ran over to my right side, jumped up and gave me an enthusiastic ear job.

2. a phone call to a sexual phone service; sexually stimulating talk on the phone.

[US]W. Diehl Sharky’s Machine 100: It’s what we call an ear job [...] Probably the neatest phone-and-fuck operation I’ve ever run into.
ear man (n.) [he picks it up by ear]

(US black) an individual expressing a natural ability to excel at an endeavour, a virtuoso.

[US](con. 1940s) Deuce Ofay Productions ‘The Jive Bible’ at JiveOn.com [Internet] Ear man: n. An individual expressing a natural ability to excel at some endeavor; Someone showing virtuosity.
ear music (n.)

(US black) improvised music.

[US]Deuce Ofay Productions ‘The Jive Bible’ at JiveOn.com [Internet] Ear music: n. Music which is improvised.
ear-piece (n.)

(UK black) an ear.

[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 168: Dem two always ’stand up by Shaka’s bass-box [...] I’m surprised dey got any ear-piece lef’.
ear sex (n.)

(US) an instance of sexually stimulating talk on the phone.

‘What exactly is “ear sex”?’ 18 Feb. on Straight Dope [Internet] The idea in ear sex, not to be overly bashful about it, is that you call up and have a woman talk dirty to you while you masturbate.

In phrases

bend someone’s ear (v.) (orig. US)

1. (also bend someone’s lughole) to chatter on interminably and prob. tediously; thus have one’s ear bent, to be on the receiving end of such chatter; earbender, a chatterer.

[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 14/2: Stop bending my ear – Stop lying.
[US]Judge (NY) 91 July-Dec. 31: Earbender-Talker.
[US]Judge (NY) 91 July-Dec. 31: .
[US]S.J. Perelman in Marschall That Old Gang o’ Mine (1984) 148: This is Uncle Frankie, about to bend your ear again.
[US]J. Weidman What’s In It For Me? 67: You can still bend a mean ear.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 333: Never saw a guy who got his ears bent so much without saying boo.
[US]Mad mag. Mar. 31: Quit bendin’ my ear!
[US]P. Rabe Murder Me for Nickels (2004) 59: You working for me, jack, or you just [...] sitting there bending my ear.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 150: And she’s bending your ear, this old girl.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Diamonds are for Heather’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] There’s nothing worse than having your ear bent by somebody else’s problems!
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 56: Last few weeks of sentence all he did that Slip was bend my lughole how we were sitting on a load of lettuce.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 132: Tutt imagined that Monroe was bending Tyrell’s ear every chance he got.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 97: C’mon, I’ll bend your ear on the way out.
[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 159: Begbie’s bendin his ear now. —How’s that Geordie bird.

2. to speak privately, to whisper.

[US]Associated Press 19 Dec. n.p.: MacArthur is supposed to have bent [...] Eisenhower’s ear with a new plan [W&F].
bite someone’s ear (v.)

1. to nag, to importune.

[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Two Sundowners’ in Roderick (1972) 99: Swampy ‘bit the cook’s ear’ for a ‘bit o’ meat an’ tea an’ sugar,’ not forgetting ‘a handful of flour if yer can spare it’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 23 July 39/1: Just to stand and watch them biting ears for beer.

2. to borrow money.

[UK] ‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 502: After a time I gave him best (left him) because he wanted to bite my ear (borrow) too often.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Stiffner and Jim’ in Roderick (1972) 124: I took aside a chap I knowed and bit his ear for ten bob.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 7 Oct. 4/8: When pals negotiate a loan / [...] / When resting actors bite your ear, / Blame it on the Barman.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Mother’s Boy’ Sporting Times 21 Mar. 1/3: The precious baby’s playfulness—he bites his mother’s ear / With the zest she shows in biting yours or mine.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Jan. 2/5: Cadgem, the champion borrower [...] ‘I’ve bitten so many ears in my time that——’.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 32: My ear was shortly going to be bitten in no uncertain manner.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 24: bite one’s ear To beg in the street.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 15: A down-and-out started to bite my ear as soon as I got out in the street.
blow down someone’s ear (v.) (also blow down someone’s earhole, blow in someone’s ear)

to whisper, esp. to whisper information (accurate or otherwise) that is intended to persuade the hearer to do what one wishes.

[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 329: ‘blowing down his ear’ : Whispering to another.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 34: This ‘Lolly’s’ a beauty [...] He comes up here one night and blows down my ear about all the mazooma he’s won.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 201: I blew down the ear of old Bill Ferris, the landing screw. ‘Do me a favour, Bill,’ I said.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 174: Blowing down (his/my) ear Whispering.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 57: I’m gonna blow down yuh ear’ole – but if yuh go bent on me I’ll kill yuh stone dead, okay?
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 105: I did my part. I’m trusting you to blow in the D.A.’s ear for me.
ding it in one’s ears (v.)

see under ding v.1

do on one’s ear (v.)

(Aus.) to accomplish something easily.

[Aus]Armidale Express (NSW) 22 Aug. 8/3: Mr. Cohen: You’re sentenced to three months’ imprisonment in Tamworth gaol. — Defendant: Oh, Lord, I can do that on my ear. Why didn’t you make it six?
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 85: Red could bring the logs in ‘on his ear,’ it was agreed. He was reckoned one of the best bullockies in the south-west.
[Aus]Aus. Women’s Wkly 13 Nov. 2/3: Is Your husband Perfect [...] Does he say there's nothing to do in running a house, or ‘I could do it on my ear’.
[Aus]News (Adelaide) 13 Jan.5/7: I knew then that I could do it on my ear. If I could come in as strong as I did against Kay [...] then Uren was in for a bag of trouble.
[Aus]Baker Drum.
[NZ]G. Slatter Pagan Game (1969) 114: You’ll beat Taueru without him. Do it on your ear.
ear between the legs (n.) [resemblance]

the labia minora.

[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 1834: Some terms that have survived this ignorance include [...] double-sucker, ear between the legs, cat’s head cut open, etc., for the lesser lip.
ear of corn (n.)

(US) a country person.

[UK]D. Lowrie My Life in Prison 143: I hate t’ run that ear o’ corn up again a play like that, but he was so green I couldn’t help it.
[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 219: That joke [...] About the ears of corn outside the can house where all that whores had syph.
from ears to crupper (adv.) [horse imagery]

(Aus.) to the fullest extent.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Nov. 36/2: The other night he had changed his tune completely, and was cursing Federation from ears to crupper.
get in someone’s ear (v.)

(Aus.) to ask questions.

[Aus]D. Ireland Burn 137: He’s only had time to stow the bundle and the tin before these three men get in his ear.
get one’s ears back (v.)

(US) to get excited.

[US] ‘Mae West in “The Hip Flipper”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) n.p.: They wound up in one of those bath-tub gin orgies and Lotta got her ears back.
get on one’s ear (v.)

(US) to shout, to talk loudly and effusively; thus excl. get off my ear! leave me alone!

[US]E. O’Neill Beyond the Horizon II ii: Phew! I pity you, Rob, when she gets on her ear!
[US](con. 1918) J. Stevens Mattock 269: And he got on his ear so that he bawled and crabbed his head off at the supply sergeant; and then this baby forgets his joke, gets on his ear, and reports the old bird as insubordinate to the platoon commander.
[US]Phila. Daily Bulletin 1 Feb. 6: Get off my ear [...] Stop annoying me.
get (up) on one’s ear (v.) (also go off on one’s ear, spin round on one’s ear)

(US) to lose one’s temper, to become violently angry, to get embarrassed.

[US]Wkly Kansas Chief (Troy KS) 21 Mar. 2/2: [A] music dealer presented a copy of his new temperance song, ‘To-Night You’ve Been Drinking Again,’ to a Kansas editor [who] got up on his ear [and] swore it was a dad-fetched, ding-batted no-such-thing.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Apr. 10/3: And then, as the disgusted knight went off on his flop ear, our admirer jabbed his hand in his breeches pockets and called out, ‘Musha now, luk at that, an’ th’ plurty nose av ’em.’.
[US]DN I 64: ‘To spin round on one’s ear’ means to get violently angry [DA].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Sept. 14/3: Oh, well, you needn’t get on your ear over it! If anything does happen, I can blanky well marry her!
[US]J.W. Carr in ‘Word-List From Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:v 397: get up on one’s ear, v. phr. To get violently angry. ‘Now there ain’t no use to get up on your ear about it.’.
have ears (v.)

(orig. US black) to listen; to be aware.

[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 45: The Bliss miss has ears like everyone else on the street.
knock the ears off (v.) (also beat someone’s ears down/off)

(US) to beat up comprehensively.

[US]V.F. Nelson Prison Days and Nights 25: Any many in the place could knock his ears off in a fair fight.
[US]N. Algren Somebody in Boots 135: Puppy, yo’ keep awn a-pesterin’ me an’ sho’ as shucks ah’ll beat yo’ ’eahs down.
[US]C. Pifer ‘Executioner’ in All-America Sports Mag. Jan. [Internet] You wouldn’t mind beatin’ the ears off that Johnson guy, would you, black boy?
[UK]Post (Falkirk) 29 Mar. 4/1: While the British fought we debated. We waited for the enemy to knock our ears off so we could be certain that he meant us no good.
live in someone’s ear (v.)

(Irish) to live on very intimate terms.

[Ire]F. Kelly Annals of Ballykilferret n.p.: They find they cannot sustain their anger with him because he is ‘great crack and would live in your ear’ [BS].
[Ire]M. Johnston Around the Banks of Pimlico 63: Among the people themselves there existed the most genuine support and neighbourly assistance. We lived in each other’s ears .
on one’s ear (also upon one’s ear)

1. (US campus) in a state of offended dignity, angry.

[US]L.H. Bagg Four Years at Yale 44: Ear, dignity, hauteur, self-importance. A man somewhat offended or indignant is said to be on his ear, or eary.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Feb. 9/1: Next morning our hero started home ‘on his ear,’ fully sensible of the fact that man proposes, but Goodchap disposes.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 25: His Nibs is on his ear, they say, an’ the chief’s got to square things.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 6 Nov. 1/1: In consequence oí the proximity of the black-boy poison half the neighborhood is continually on its ear.
M.C. Harris Tents of Wickedness 255: I only hope Paul Fairfax won’t read it and get on his ear!
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 45: You got this town on it’s ear already and I don’t want to be there when the shooting starts.

2. (orig. US, also on one’s neck) in disgrace.

[US]Bolivar Bull. (TN) 15 Apr. 1/3: The Slang of Our Day [...] Instead of asaying ‘o the the devil,’ they tell you to ‘walk off on your ear’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Oct. 9/4: A patent-medicine man bearded the O’Kane in his den the other day to complain that he haf been libelled. He was thrown out ‘on his ear.’.
[US]T.J. Carey Hebrew Yarns and Dialect Humor 81/1: Instead of saying ‘go to the devil,’ / They tell you ‘walk off on your ear.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Oct. 14/4: ‘Well, now you ask me,’ I told him, ‘he does nothing of much value.’ ‘Ho!’ says cocky; ‘then he oughter be passed out on his ear.’.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 14: Slung out into the street on his ear.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 10 Nov. [synd. col.] He comes in on the cuff and goes out on his ear.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 163: I’m not going to have my coloured boy throw you out of here on your ear.
[SA]H.C. Bosman Willemsdorp (1981) I 501: Hendricks will get fired out on his neck quicker’n any of them.
[Aus]J.M. Hosking ‘Roll’n Smith’ Aus. First and Last 99: Thrown out on his ear / After spilling a workmate’s beer.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 12: [...] ready to toss the bum out on his ear.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 62: They give the joker a beltin’ and sling him out on his ear.
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘The Bastard from the Bush’ in Snatches and Lays 83: May the next push you impose on too you out upon your ear.
[US]G. Wolff Duke of Deception (1990) 80: He wouldn’t stop making passes, and finally I told your father, who tossed him out on his ear.

3. (Aus.) drunk.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Aug. 16/2: The grog wasn’t too good [...] and, consequently, in a very short time the whole male population was ‘upon its ear.’ [...] He shouted in vain, for the whole town was drunk.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 20 Mar. 8/2: Each port saw a more extensive shivoo than the last [...] which accounted for the skipper being more or less on his ear all the way out to Aus.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Aug. 10/1: Tell me, missus, are you frequently or ever, on your ear? / Are you gay and loud and joyful when the bloom is on the beer? / Do you take it as a tonic, or a luxury or what? / Is your beer-imbibing chronic? / Do you swill, or do you not?
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Aug. 26/3: In fair Echuca now a-night / It is not safe to go / Around the town extremely tight, / [...] / The drink that put you on your ear / Is French or Dutch or British beer!
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Joy Ride’ in Backblock Ballads 103: I swear they lies like ’ell who ses / That we was on our ear! / For, or we was both, I take me oath, / As sober as me here.
[US]J. Tully Beggars of Life 15: I got stewed in Chi, an’ was thrun outta Hinky Dink’s on my ear, and darned ’f I diden sleep right on Clark Street till mornin’.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 166: A man who is drunk is said to be blithered, blue, on his ear [...] and drunk as a piss ant.
[UK](con. 1930s) D. Behan Teems of Times and Happy Returns 162: Didn’t Mister C. think the party might be on its ear if balls of malt – large balls of malt – continued to come their way from now until closing time.

4. (US, also on one ear) easily, with little effort; usu. in phr. do something on one’s ear [var. on do something standing on one’s head under stand v.2 ].

[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 85: Red could bring the logs in ‘on his ear,’ it was agreed. He was reckoned one of the best bullockies in the south-west.
[US]C.R. Shaw Jack-Roller 100: One guy who had done time said, ‘A year wasn’t so much, he could do that on his ear.’.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 8: I’ve done so much Time that I can do a couple of more on my ear.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 65/1: Ear, on one. (P) Easily and untroubled, generally descriptive of a manner of serving a brief prison term.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 137: Now, with the usual remissions, he’d be out in a twelve-month. He could do it on his ear.
[Aus]Baker Drum.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Cop This Lot 110: ‘Could you drink half a gallon of beer?’ ‘On me ear. That’s only five schooners.’.
[NZ]G. Slatter Pagan Game (1969) 114: You’ll beat Taueru without him. Do it on your ear.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 29: Standin’ on Your Head When a person is sentenced to a small amount of time he feels he can serve with relative ease, it is said he can do that time standin’ on his head [...] (Archaic: on one ear).
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 148: on your ear [...] 2. Something easily accomplished, c1920.
pin back one’s ears (v.)

1. to shock, to surprise.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 885/1: mostly Forces: 1940+.

2. to give one’s full attention; esp. as pin your ears back!

[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 90: ‘I am all eagerness to hear.’ ‘Then pin your ears back and drink it in.’.
pin someone’s ears back (v.)

(orig. US) to defeat, to punish verbally or physically, to reprimand.

[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 112: The boss is pinnin’ Copper’s ears back.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 98: ‘Get on yuh way or I’ll pin yuh ears for yuh,’ he said. ‘Him pin my ears!’.
[UK]R. Rendell Keys to the Street 111: She wasn’t the sort to pin your ears back and he despised her for her gentleness.
pull down someone’s ear (v.)

to extract money from someone; note extrapolation in cit. 1920.

[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 117: I fort it was time to pull down their ear.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘He Felt His Position’ Sporting Times 7 May 1/3: [He] was so busy getting rid of them, his sweetheart’s ear to pull, / That he didn’t notice he had raised somebody else’s wool.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘No Separation’ Sporting Times 3 Jan. 1/3: The puller-down of ears feels surer of his daily grub / Than he would if he had patronised the Ritz.
pull in one’s ears (v.) [var. on SE phr. pull in one’s horns]

(US) to act cautiously, to minimize one’s aggression; to mind one’s business.

[UK]Hall & Niles One Man’s War (1929) 196: I was quietly shooting one Heinie’s tail full of lead, about forty or fifty others hopped me, and did I pull in my ears!
[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 30/2: PULL IN YER NECK—YER EARS,—YER BARBER POLE, etc. Shut up! Twelve-double-o-three shouts, ‘Hey, Forty!’ to a fellow in a cell down the line. Forty answers, ‘What?’ Three yells back, ‘Pull in yer neck!’ and everybody on the tier laughs.
[US]F.W. Pollock ‘The Current Expansion of Sl.’ in AS II:3 146: Pull in your ears, we’re coming to a tunnel.
[US]G. & S. Lorimer Stag Line 136: Pull in your ears, mutt.
[US]W. Winchell 22 Feb. [synd. col.] Which [...] makes it a good time for Mr. and Mrs. America to pull in their ears.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
put one’s ears out (v.)

to listen for news, to gather information.

‘Introducing...Harrington’ at BigWideWorld.com [Internet] We knew we were going to take a bit of time off and Gav (Rossdale) was gonna get married and stuff, so I decided to just put my ears out. I heard about Selena and I managed to get a copy of some demos which she’d done.
put on someone’s ear (v.) [the victim is knocked down, ‘on their ear’]

to set on, to attack.

[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 240: An’ I s’pose [...] that it wouldn’t be quite the thing, would it, to put a tiggy on his ear?
rubber-ear (v.)

to ignore.

[UK]T. Black Gutted 248: ‘What the fuck is this,’ he said finally. I blanked him. ‘C’mon this is out ay order. I’ve told you all I know before.’ I rubber-eared him again.
stand someone on their ear (v.)

to amaze, to overwhelm.

[US]P. Gallico ‘The Yellow Twin’ in Goodstone Pulps (1970) 38/2: Barney Cassidy [...] stood the fans on their ears by knocking out Mickey Toohey.
take it in the ear (v.)

(US campus) to be severely criticized, to be treated unfairly.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 208: Take it in the ear Do poorly on something.
[US]Current Sl. III:4 10: Take it in the ear, v. To be treated unfairly (from an extreme form of sexual aberration).
talk someone’s ear off (v.) (also talk someone’s earblocks off)

(orig. US) to talk incessantly at someone.

[US]J. Weidman I Can Get It For You Wholesale 144: I took him into the living-room and talked his ear off for a couple of hours.
[US](con. 1930s) H. Simmons Man Walking On Eggshells 65: Well, she just about talked your earblocks off.
[UK]G. Lambert Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 207: You know her trouble? She talks your ear off about people relating to people.
[UK]P. Theroux Murder in Mount Holly (1999) 31: ‘He’ll talk your ear off,’ said Miss Ball.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 173: He gets out there, and talks our ears off.
[US]S. King Cujo (1982) 77: Roger would have been more than glad [...] to have a coffee with him, and to talk his ear off.
…to the ears

an intensifying phr., usu. referring to drunkenness or drug intoxication.

[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘Die Hard’ in I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 17: ‘Where’s Jerry D’Alessio,’ I asked. She shrugged. ‘Hopped to the ears, probably.’.
[US]E. Hunter ‘. . . Or Leave It Alone’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 56: She was hopped to the ears.
with ears (adv.) [the creation of fig. ‘noise’]

(US) to an extreme and insufferable degree.

[US]Current Sl. V:3 13: With ears, adv. To the last or final degree.

In exclamations