prick ears up


prick ears up

also prick up ears


  • listen carefully
  • begin to listen attentively
  • become very alert and start listening
  • start to listen with full attention

Example Sentences

  1. She pricked up her ears when she heard her name being mentioned by the group chatting animatedly at the corner.
  2. His ears pricked up when he heard the word “incentive” during the otherwise boring all employees’ meet.
  3. He pricked up his ears when he overheard a juicy bit of gossip being discussed at the office lobby.
  4. He pricked up his ears when he heard that they were going away for a vacation to a place he had always wanted to go to.
  5. An interesting piece of news always gets everyone to prick their ears up and listen carefully.
  6. Jeff pricked his ears up when he heard his wife’s name being mentioned.
  7. Everyone pricked up their ears when the announcement about the new policy came in.


The phrase alludes to the ability of some animals like dogs and horses to lift their ears in order to hear more clearly. It has been in use since the 1500s-1600s. An early reference is found in Francis Bacon’s Essays – On Fame in 1626.


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