Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary



Simple Definition of hearing

  • : the sense through which a person or animal is aware of sound : the ability to hear

  • : the distance within which someone's voice can be heard

  • : an opportunity to explain why you did, said, or believe something

Full Definition of hearing

  1. 1 a :  the process, function, or power of perceiving sound; specifically :  the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli b :  earshot

  2. 2 a :  opportunity to be heard, to present one's side of a case, or to be generally known or appreciated b (1) :  a listening to arguments (2) :  a preliminary examination in criminal procedure c :  a session (as of a legislative committee) in which testimony is taken from witnesses

  3. 3 chiefly dialect :  a piece of news

Examples of hearing

  1. He suffered some loss of hearing in his right ear.

  2. <let's make sure she's out of hearing before I tell you what I got her for her birthday>

13th Century

First Known Use of hearing

13th century

HEARING Defined for Kids


noun hear·ing \ˈhir-iŋ\

Definition of hearing

  1. 1 :  the act or power of taking in sound through the ear :  the sense by which a person hears

  2. 2 :  earshot <I yelled, but he was out of hearing.>

  3. 3 :  a chance to be heard or known <Give both sides a fair hearing.>

  4. 4 :  a meeting at which arguments or testimony is heard <a court hearing>

Medical Dictionary


noun hear·ing

Medical Definition of hearing

  1. :  the act or power of apprehending sound; specifically :  one of the special senses of vertebrates that is concerned with the perception of sound, is mediated through the organ of Corti of the ear in mammals, is normally sensitive in humans to sound vibrations between 16 and 27,000 hertz but most receptive to those between 2000 and 5000 hertz, is conducted centrally by the cochlear branch of the auditory nerve, and is coordinated especially in the medial geniculate body

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hearing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet pince-nez spindrift kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.