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listen definition

Overview

This page has 16 definitions of listen with English translations in 8 languages. Listen is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use listen in a sentence are shown. Also define these 21 related words and terms: attention, sound, speech, expect, wait, signal, accept, advice, obey, agree, assent, hear, play, botany, bract, liste, list, ustedes, listar, ellos, and ellas.

See also: Listen

English listen definition

Alternative forms

  • lisen (obsolete)
  • lis'en (informal)
  • lissen (informal)

Etymology

From Middle English listenen, listnen, alteration (due to Middle English listen (to listen, give heed to)) of Old English hlysnan (to listen), from Proto-Germanic *hlusnijaną, *hlusnōną (compare Middle High German lüsenen), from Proto-Germanic *hlusēną (compare Old High German hlosēn), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlew- (to hear) (compare Ancient Greek κλαίω (klaíō, I make known, famous), Welsh clywed (to hear), Latin clueō (I am famous), Lithuanian klausýti, Old Church Slavonic слѹшати (slušati, to hear), Sanskrit श्रोषति (śróṣati). Related to loud and German lauschen.

Pronunciation

  • enPR: lĭs'ən, lĭs'n, IPA(key): /ˈlɪs.ən/, [ˈlɪs.n̩]
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪsən
  • Hyphenation: lis‧ten

Verb

listen (third-person singular simple present listens, present participle listening, simple past and past participle listened)

  1. (intransitive) To pay attention to a sound or speech.
    Please listen carefully as I explain.  I like to listen to music.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      He read the letter aloud. Sophia listened with the studied air of one for whom, even in these days, a title possessed some surreptitious allurement.
  2. (intransitive) To expect or wait for a sound, such as a signal.
    You should listen for the starting gun.
    • 1906, Stanley J[ohn] Weyman, chapter I, in Chippinge Borough, New York, N.Y.: McClure, Phillips & Co., OCLC 580270828, page 01:
      It was April 22, 1831, and a young man was walking down Whitehall in the direction of Parliament Street. []. He halted opposite the Privy Gardens, and, with his face turned skywards, listened until the sound of the Tower guns smote again on the ear and dispelled his doubts.
    • 1912 January, Zane Grey, chapter 4, in Riders of the Purple Sage: A Novel, New York, N.Y.; London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, OCLC 6868219:
      He reined Wrangle to a walk, halted now and then to listen, and then proceeded cautiously with shifting and alert gaze.
    • Wait definition
      To delay movement or action until the arrival or occurrence of; to await. (Now generally superseded by “wait for”.) (1 of 7 wait definitions)
    • Signal definition
      A sequence of states representing an encoded message in a communication channel. (1 of 10 signal definitions)
  3. (intransitive) To accept advice or obey instruction; to agree or assent.
    Listen, the only reason I yelled at you was because I was upset, OK?  Good children listen to their parents.
    • Obey definition
      To do as ordered by (a person, institution etc), to act according to the bidding of. (1 of 3 obey definitions)
    • Agree definition
      To harmonize in opinion, statement, or action; to be in unison or concord; to be or become united or consistent; to concur. (1 of 8 agree definitions)
  4. (transitive, archaic) To hear (something or someone), to pay attention to.

Usage notes

In English, listen and hear are two primary verbs relating to audial perception. To hear represents automatic, unconscious, or passive perception of sound, while listen generally represents intentional, conscious, or purposeful use of the sense of hearing. The difference is expressed in the following quotation:

As the silence took hold in the darkness, Sam realized that she had been hearing, though not listening to, various low-level sounds—the hum of air conditioning and life support, the pulse of some faraway oxygen pump, the faint buzz of the electrical and lighting systems. —Justin Richards (1999) Demontage, chapter 5, page 92.

A similar distinction exists between see and watch in English.

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Translations

Noun

listen (plural listens)

  1. An instance of listening.
    Synonym: play (of recorded audio)
    Give the motor a listen and tell me if it sounds off.
    • 2016 March 29, Victor Luckerson, “There's a New Way To Listen To All the Remixes You Want”, in Time[2]:
      The diss song, “Back to Back,” now has more than 124 million listens, a sign that the streaming can attract a sizable audience for a single track.

See also

Anagrams


Czech listen definition

Etymology

list +‎ -en

Pronunciation

Noun

listen m inan

  1. (botany) bract
    • Botany definition
      The scientific study of plants, a branch of biology. Typically those disciplines that involve the whole plant. (1 of 4 botany definitions)

Further reading


Danish listen definition

Noun

listen c

  1. definite singular of liste
    • Liste definition
      plural of lis
  2. definite singular of list

Dutch listen definition

Pronunciation

Noun

listen

  1. Plural form of list

Anagrams


German listen definition

Etymology

From Liste +‎ -en.

Pronunciation

Verb

listen (third-person singular simple present liste, past tense listete, past participle gelistet, auxiliary haben)

  1. to list

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Norwegian Bokmål listen definition

Alternative forms

Noun

listen m or f

  1. definite masculine singular of liste
  2. definite masculine singular of list

Spanish listen definition

Verb

listen

  1. Second-person plural (ustedes) imperative form of listar.
    • Listar definition
      indefinite genitive singular of list
  2. Second-person plural (ustedes) present subjunctive form of listar.
  3. Third-person plural (ellos, ellas, also used with ustedes?) present subjunctive form of listar.
    • Ellos definition
      they
    • Ellas definition
      they

Swedish listen definition

Noun

listen

  1. definite singular of list

Anagrams