ear to the ground (plural ears to the ground)
- (idiomatic) The practice or characteristic of carefully gathering information; a state or mindset of attentiveness.
- 1903, Charles W. Chesnutt, “The Disfranchisement of the Negro” in The Negro Problem:
- Congress never enacts a measure which is believed to oppose public opinion;—your Congressman keeps his ear to the ground.
1910, William MacLeod Raine, chapter 3, in A Texas Ranger:
“There's no telling what a man might happen onto accidentally if he travels with his ear to the ground.”
1990, David Eddings, Sorceress of Darshiva, →ISBN, page 148:
The tavern keeper's an old friend of mine—we was shipmates when we was younger—and he sort of keeps his ear to the ground for me.
- 2001 May 3, Elaine Shannon with Jessica Reaves, “Who'll Follow Freeh Into the FBI Corner Office?,” Time:
- TIME Justice Department correspondent Elaine Shannon is keeping her ear to the ground as candidates' names start to pop up.
- (attributively, usually hyphenated) Pursuing the practice or having the characteristic of carefully gathering information; well-informed.
- 1949 Aug. 29, “Chile: Fast Work,” Time:
- The ear-to-the-ground President knew that all the unrest could not be blamed on Communists.
- Often used in the expressions “to keep one's (or an) ear to the ground ” and “to put one's (or an) ear to the ground ”.
the practice of carefully gathering information