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 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 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, 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, 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, 6 Nov. 2018 The president, for example, has experienced several instances of his jokes falling on tin ears. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, 25 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries Near tin ear

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Statistics for tin ear

Last Updated

18 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tin ear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tin%20ear. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for tin ear

tin ear


English Language Learners Definition of tin ear

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


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