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Idioms

play it by ear

This page is about the idiom play it by ear

Meaning

If you play it by ear, you don't plan ahead but you do whatever seems best at the time depending on the situation.

For example

  • I like those comedy shows where they play it by ear and just say whatever they like and do whatever they like.

  • Jean says he's not sure what goes on in the meetings, so he'll just play it by ear and see what happens.

Origin: From music, in which playing by ear means playing without reading from sheet music.

Quick Quiz

Once they get into the studio, the band are going to play it by ear and

a. record all their old songs

b. see what they come up with

c. do whatever the producer tells them to do
a) record all their old songs b) see what they come up with c) do whatever the producer tells them to do
play it by ear

See Idiom of the Day today

Contributor: Matt Errey