When you hear, you perceive a noise made by someone or something — like a person’s voice, the song of a bird, or the torturous sound of a ticking clock on a sleepless night.

While hear generally means to perceive a noise, it has several senses, including to listen carefully, as to a story. If you hear from someone, they have contacted you in some way, such as by phone call, email, or even snail mail. A judge will also hear a case when she presides over a trial. And when you hear the news, you’ve gotten information or found something out. But you didn’t hear it from me.

Definitions of hear

v perceive (sound) via the auditory sense

catch, overhear, take in
hear, usually without the knowledge of the speakers
catch, get
perceive by hearing
Type of:
comprehend, perceive
to become aware of through the senses

v receive a communication from someone

“We heard nothing from our son for five years”
Type of:
pick up, receive
register (perceptual input)

v get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally

discover, find out, get a line, get wind, get word, learn, pick up, see
find, see, witness
perceive or be contemporaneous with
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get the goods
discover some bad or hidden information about
wise up
get wise to
catch, trip up
detect a blunder or misstep
learn or discover with certainty
discover, find
make a discovery
rake up
bring to light
ascertain or learn the price of
ferret, ferret out
search and discover through persistent investigation

v listen and pay attention

“We must hear the expert before we make a decision”
listen, take heed
bend or turn (one's ear) towards a speaker in order to listen well
Type of:
center, centre, concentrate, focus, pore, rivet
direct one's attention on something

v examine or hear (evidence or a case) by judicial process

“The jury had heard all the evidence”
rehear, retry
hear or try a court case anew
Type of:
examine, probe
question or examine thoroughly and closely

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