tin ear


Definition of tin ear

: a deafened or insensitive ear

Examples of tin ear in a Sentence

My wife is a talented musician, but I have a tin ear.
Recent Examples on the Web Markey also found himself on the defense at times during the campaign, with Kennedy repeatedly trying to portray him as having a tin ear to racial equity concerns. Steve Leblanc, Anchorage Daily News, "Markey defeats Kennedy III in Massachusetts’ Senate primary," 2 Sep. 2020 But Manny has to grab the maestro stick and get a symphony out of the tin ears (and not just the final day of the season). San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: A.J. Preller’s cruise could be over if right Padres skipper isn’t hired," 5 Oct. 2019 The president’s tin ear on race—reflected in his Twitter spats with black athletes and his clumsy response to the Charlottesville rioting, among other instances—is unfortunate but hardly the sum of his time in office. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Among Black Voters, Trump’s Popularity Inches Upward," 6 Nov. 2018 The president, for example, has experienced several instances of his jokes falling on tin ears. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Swaggy P goes one joke over the line," 25 June 2018 The Cars franchise has always been Pixar’s attempt to woo the NASCAR crowd, and even if the studio’s got a tin ear for contemporary country stars, the first movie’s paean to small-town life went deeper than demographic pandering. Sam Adams, Slate Magazine, "The Cars sequel for people who hate Cars 2.," 13 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tin ear.' 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 tin ear

1935, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for tin ear

Time Traveler

The first known use of tin ear was in 1935

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Statistics for tin ear

Last Updated

6 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tin ear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tin%20ear. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for tin ear

tin ear


English Language Learners Definition of tin ear

chiefly US : a lack of ability to hear something (such as music or speech) in an accurate and sensitive way

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