Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To make an effort to hear something.
  • intransitive verb To pay attention; heed.
  • noun An act of listening.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To attend closely with the design of hearing; give ear; harken; hence, to give heed; yield compliantly: as, to listen to reason.
  • To hear; attend to; give heed to.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To attend to.
  • intransitive verb To give close attention with the purpose of hearing; to give ear; to hearken; to attend.
  • intransitive verb To give heed; to yield to advice; to follow admonition; to obey.
  • intransitive verb [Obs.] to take an interest in.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To pay attention to a sound, to note.
  • verb intransitive To wait for a sound, such as a signal.
  • verb intransitive To accept or obey oral instruction; to agree or assent.
  • verb transitive, archaic To hear (something or someone), to pay attention to.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb pay close attention to; give heed to
  • verb hear with intention
  • verb listen and pay attention

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English listenen, alteration (influenced by listen, to list, listen; see list) of Old English hlysnan; see kleu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English listnen, alteration (interpreted as frequentative of listen) from Old English hlysnan, from Proto-Germanic *hlūsinōnan (compare Middle High German lüsenen), from *hlusēnan (compare Old High German hlosēn), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlew- (“to hear”) (compare Ancient Greek κλαίω (klaiō, "I make known, famous"), Latin clueō ("I am famous"), Lithuanian klausýti, Old Church Slavonic слѹшати (slušati, "to hear"), Sanskrit śróṣati). Related to loud.

Examples

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