Keep Your Ear to the Ground Meaning
Definition: To stay well informed about something.
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This expression carries the connotation of being well connected or staying close to a source in order to be very up to date about new developments.
Origin of Keep Your Ear to the Ground
This expression originated in the late-1800s. The idiom stems from the literal practice of placing one’s ear to the ground in order to hear far off hoof beats, footsteps, or other indicators of something or someone approaching.
It is possible for vibrations to carry through the ground at great distances. For this reason, it is oftentimes possible to hear something coming (with an ear against the ground) before one can see it.
This expression was common in the American West. It is likely because cowboys and other people living on the frontier could hear herds of bison, cattle, horses, or even trains approaching in this manner.
When used in a metaphorical sense, this expression communicates a similar idea. Someone who keeps a close ear to those who are knowledgeable about certain topics, or someone who spends time in situations that pertain to those topics, will likely know about upcoming changes before they occur.
Examples of Keep Your Ear to the Ground
Robin: I wish each class syllabus would list the dates for all assessments.
Harry: Don’t worry. I should know at least a week ahead of time when each quiz and test will be for all our classes.
Robin: Why? Do the teachers always announce that information?
Harry: No, but I make sure to keep my ear to the ground, so I’m the first to find that stuff out.
Robin: How do you do that?
Harry: I’m a close friend with the teaching assistants for some of the classes. In other cases, I talk to students who took the class last year. The teachers are following the exact same material as last year, right down to the timing of each assignment and assessment.
Mal: I heard we might have to start wearing uniforms. That’s not true, is it? I know you always have your ear to the ground.
Xiomara: I haven’t heard anything from the secretaries or any of my other sources. I’ll ask around and see what I find out.
This excerpt is from an article about men’s fashion.
This excerpt is from an article about a baseball team.
See more: Matt Lauer On Ellen
The phrase keep one’s ear to the ground means to work to be aware of upcoming changes or events.
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