What does the idiom "lend an ear" mean?

Although the meanings of the words in them do not make any sense when examined one by one, the word groups that are shaped according to the cultural roots of the language and that make sense as a whole are called idioms. lend an ear meaning, in what situations is it used?

Meaning of "lend an ear"


The idiom ‘lend an ear’ means to offer someone a sympathetic or attentive hearing so that they can share their thoughts, feelings or concerns. It implies that one is willing to listen to another person and offer emotional support.


The phrase ‘lend an ear’ dates back centuries. The phrase appears in William S. Gilbert’s poems from 1871, and the first known usage of it in print was in 1602. It is believed to have originated around the 16th century, although it is unclear exactly where the phrase came from. It is likely derived from the longhand version, “give a lending ear,” which was used in the 15th century to refer to someone willing to hear out another’s plight.


The phrase ‘lend an ear’ is commonly used to ask someone to offer their advice and support to someone in need. It is often used in informal contexts such as among friends or family. It can also be used when addressing a group or an audience, expressing a desire for them to be attentive and compassionate. It can be used to ask for advice and emotional support from a friend or to let someone know that you are a sympathetic listener.

Example Sentences

  • “I’m going through a difficult time; can you lend an ear so I can talk it out?”
  • “I know you’re dealing with a lot right now, so if you need someone to talk to, I’m here to lend an ear.”
  • “Lend an ear, friends, and let’s have an open discussion about this issue.”

The meanings of the words in the "lend an ear" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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