hear·ing | \ˈhir-iŋ \

Definition of hearing 

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

b : earshot

2a : 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 chiefly dialectal : a piece of news

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Synonyms for hearing


earshot, hail, sound

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Examples of hearing in a Sentence

He suffered some loss of hearing in his right ear. let's make sure she's out of hearing before I tell you what I got her for her birthday

Recent Examples on the Web

State legislative hearings, and the meetings of school boards and city councils, nearly always allow public comment, especially when the expenditure of public money is being discussed. Craig Harris, azcentral, "East Valley charter gives teachers raise; refuses to let public comment on budget," 13 July 2018 One of the couples’ two daughters has Wolf-Hirschorn Syndrome, and her hearing and vision issues, seizures, heart and kidney complications require round-the-clock care. Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post, "The Health 202: 'ACA' removed from swaths of Medicaid.gov website, watchdog reports," 12 July 2018 There’s a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to Clark County District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who postponed his execution last year. Ken Ritter, USA TODAY, "Nevada execution in doubt after pharmaceutical company lawsuit," 11 July 2018 There's a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to Clark County District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who postponed his execution last year. NBC News, "Nevada execution in doubt after drug company sues to stop it," 11 July 2018 There’s a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti, the Las Vegas judge who postponed his execution. Ken Ritter, The Seattle Times, "Drug company’s lawsuit could derail Nevada execution," 10 July 2018 The city's Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the plan during a public hearing and forward a recommendation to the City Council. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Yorkville aldermen look at plan for enchancing downtown," 6 July 2018 According to city officials, the ordinance also would require a public hearing, and ultimately a decision by the council on how to proceed. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "Paid sick leave initiative signatures said to be enough," 6 July 2018 The fight for the environment still needs to be carried into agency hearings and courtrooms. Christopher Sellers, Vox, "How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hearing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hearing

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Phrases Related to hearing

a fair hearing

be hearing things

within hearing

Statistics for hearing

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hearing

The first known use of hearing was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for hearing



English Language Learners 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


hear·ing | \ˈhir-iŋ\

Kids Definition of hearing

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

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

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

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



Medical Definition of hearing 

: 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

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Legal Definition of hearing 

1 : a proceeding of relative formality at which evidence and arguments may be presented on the matter at issue to be decided by a person or body having decision-making authority — compare trial

Note: The purpose of a hearing is to provide the opportunity for each side of a dispute, and especially a person who may be deprived of his or her rights, to present its position. A hearing, along with notice, is a fundamental part of procedural due process. Hearings are also held, as for example by a legislature or an administrative agency, for the purpose of gathering information and hearing the testimony of witnesses.

administrative hearing

: a hearing conducted by an official (as an administrative law judge) or a body (as a review board) of an administrative agency regarding an agency action and especially an action under dispute

confirmation hearing

1 : a hearing conducted by the U.S. Senate to examine a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court

Note: Article II of the U.S. Constitution provides for presidential appointment of Supreme Court justices “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

2 : a hearing held in a bankruptcy case prior to the confirmation of a proposed bankruptcy plan

discharge hearing

: a hearing in a bankruptcy case in which a debtor is informed that his or her discharge has been granted or is told the reasons why it has not been granted

fair hearing

: a hearing that is conducted impartially and in accordance with due process and for which the defendant has reasonable opportunity to prepare, the assistance of counsel, the right to present evidence, the opportunity to cross-examine adverse witnesses, and often the right to a jury

fatico hearing \ˈfa-ti-kō- \

: a hearing sometimes held prior to the sentencing of a convicted criminal at which the parties may offer evidence as to appropriate sentencing

Franks hearing \ˈfraŋks- \

: a hearing to determine whether statements made by police officers in an affidavit that was used to obtain a search warrant by which evidence incriminating the defendant was found are false and constitute perjury or reckless disregard for the truth

Huntley hearing \ˈhənt-lē- \

: a Jackson-Denno hearing in the form of procedure used in New York

Jackson-Denno hearing \ˈjak-sən-ˈde-nō- \

: a hearing to determine if a confession or statements made by a defendant were given involuntarily and so should be suppressed as evidence

Mapp hearing \ˈmap- \

: a hearing to determine whether evidence should be suppressed on the ground that it was obtained as the result of an illegal search and seizure

preliminary hearing

: a hearing held after a criminal defendant's first appearance in court especially for the purpose of determining whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the felony with which he or she is charged

called also preliminary examination, probable cause hearing

pretermination hearing \prē-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən- \

: a hearing held prior to the termination of a property interest (as employment or a benefit)

probable cause hearing

: preliminary hearing in this entry

reaffirmation hearing

: a hearing in a bankruptcy case at which a debtor may reaffirm dischargeable debts

Note: The reaffirmation hearing and discharge hearing are usually held simultaneously.

suppression hearing

: a hearing held in a criminal case to determine the admissibility of evidence that the defendant seeks to suppress — see also motion to suppress at motion

taint hearing

: a hearing held in a criminal case to determine if the prosecution's evidence is inadmissible because of some taint (as because it was obtained through procedures that violated the defendant's constitutional rights)

valuation hearing

: a hearing held in a bankruptcy case to determine the value of the debtor's property in which a creditor claims a lien or security interest

Wade hearing \ˈwād- \

: a hearing in a criminal case to determine whether a witness's identification of the defendant (as in court or in a lineup) is tainted (as because of unfairly suggestive procedures) and therefore inadmissible as evidence

2 : a trial in equity practice

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More from Merriam-Webster on hearing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hearing

Spanish Central: Translation of hearing

Nglish: Translation of hearing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hearing for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hearing

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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