tin ear


: a deafened or insensitive ear

Example Sentences

My wife is a talented musician, but I have a tin ear.
Recent Examples on the Web Benedict was said to have a tin ear for politics. Rachel Donadio, New York Times, 31 Dec. 2022 Like icebergs against climate change, raindrops against asphalt, Rachmaninoff against a tin ear. oregonlive, 3 Sep. 2022 But throughout the lengthy process, Clinton continually demonstrated a tin ear about Russia’s concerns for its security and prestige. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 27 June 2022 Sinerma didn't get this far in politics -- she's held seats in the Arizona state House and state Senate as well as in the US House prior to the Senate -- by having a tin ear, politically speaking. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 24 Jan. 2022 Pelley comes close to asking a tough question about Sullivan’s tin ear (at best) on race, noting the incident when, as then-editor of The New Republic, Sullivan published an excerpt of a book asserting genetic deficits in IQ among Black people. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 15 Nov. 2021 In both productions, the metaphors for corruption and predatory capitalism are so obvious that even my tin ear for symbolism could hear them. Clarence Page, chicagotribune.com, 15 Oct. 2021 The stocky, bearded Yetnikoff was a onetime lawyer with a sharp mind, a foul mouth, a big heart, a tin ear, a roving eye and an extraordinary temper, a Jewish kid from Brooklyn whose hunger for recognition and power drove him to excess in every way. Hillel Italie, ajc, 11 Aug. 2021 While such sentiments might lead to the allocation of more resources, or support back home, they are said with a tin ear. Mark Gevisser, Time, 24 June 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tin ear.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1935, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tin ear was in 1935

Dictionary Entries Near tin ear

Cite this Entry

“Tin ear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tin%20ear. Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!