• enPR lĭs'ən, IPA: /ˈlɪs.ən/, [ˈlɪs.n̩]

listen (listens, present participle listening; 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.
  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.
  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.
    • 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 3655473 ↗:
      Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest […].
  4. (transitive, archaic) To hear (something or someone), to pay attention to.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book XX:
      ‘But, sir, lyars ye have lystened, and that hath caused grete debate betwyxte you and me.’
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, 1 Hen VI: v 3
      Lady, vouchsafe to listen what I say.
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