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Listening is the act of hearing something and paying attention to what is heard.


  • Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.
  • But yet she listen'd—'tis enough—
    Who listens once will listen twice;
    Her heart, be sure, is not of ice,
    And one refusal no rebuff.
  • Understanding does not occur when we try to intercept what someone wants to say to us by claiming we already know it.
    • Hans-Georg Gadamer, "Aesthetics and Hermeneutics" (1964), in Philosophical Hermeneutics, translated and edited by David E. Linge (University of California Press: 1976), p. 102.
  • When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
    • Ernest Hemingway, letter of advice to a young writer, reported in Malcolm Cowley, "Mister Papa", LIFE magazine (January 10, 1949), Volume 26, No. 2, p. 90. A longer version appears in Hemingway's Across the River and Into the Trees (1967): "When people talk listen completely. Don't be thinking what you're going to say. Most people never listen. Nor do they observe. You should be able to go into a room and when you come out know everything that you saw there and not only that. If that room gave you any feeling you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling".
  • Perhaps it is possible to discover more in silence than in speech. Or perhaps it is only that those who are silent among us learn to listen.
  • Blessed are they who listen when no one is left to speak.
    • Linda Hogan, “Blessing,” in Calling Myself Home (New York: Greenfield Review Press, 1978), p. 27. Also in The Remembered Earth, ed. Geary Hobsen (Albuquerque, N. Mex.: Red Earth Press, 1979; reissued Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1981), p. 55.
  • Considering how much the ears are cultivated with all the useless varieties of "lute, sackbut, and psaltery," it is wonderful their first great quality should be so neglected ; it shows how much common sense is overlooked in our present style of education. Now, considering that it is the first step to general popularity — (that general popularity, to be turned, like a patriot’s, to particular account) — considering that it is the great general principle of conciliation towards East Indian uncles and independent aunts, it shows how much real utility is forgotten, when the science of listening is not made a prominent branch of instruction. So many act on the mistaken principle, that mere hearing is listening — the eyes, believe me, listen even better than the ears — there ought to be a professor of listening. We recommend this to the attention of the London University, or the new King's College ; both professing to improve the system of education. Under the head of listening, is to be included the arts of opportune questionings and judicious negatives — those negatives which, like certain votes, become, after a time, affirmatives.
  • The one who recites the Qur’an and the one who listens to it have an equal share in the reward.
    • Muhammad Mustadrakul Wasa’il, Volume 1, Page 293.
  • what lovely, larger life becomes ours when we listen to one another
    • Naomi Shihab Nye Introduction to This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World (1992)
  • Most people don't know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by thinking. They pay more attention to that than to what the other person is saying, and none at all to what really matters: the Being of the other person underneath the words and the mind. Of course, you cannot feel someone else's Being except through your own. This is the beginning of the realization of oneness, which is love. At the deepest level of Being, you are one with all that is. Most human relationships consist mainly of minds interacting with each other, not of human beings communicating, being in communion. No relationship can thrive in that way, and that is why there is so much conflict in relationships.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 461.
  • He holds him with his glittering eye—
    * * * * * *
    And listens like a three years' child.
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Ancient Mariner, Part I, Stanza 4. Last line claimed by Wordsworth. See note to his We are Seven.
  • Listen, every one
    That listen may, unto a tale
    That's merrier than the nightingale.
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863-1874), Part III. The Sicilian's Tale. Interlude Before the Monk of Casal-Maggiore.
  • In listening mood she seemed to stand,
    The guardian Naiad of the strand.
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