little pitchers have large ears

Children overhear much that is not meant for them. A pitcher’s ears are its handles.

1546 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs II. V. G4v Auoyd your children, small pitchers haue wide eares.

1594 SHAKESPEARE Richard III II. iv. 37 Good madam, be not angry with the child.—Pitchers have ears.

1699 B. E. New Dict. Canting Crew s.v. Pitcher-bawd, Little Pitchers have large ears.

1840 R. H. BARHAM Ingoldsby Legends 1st ser. 226 A truth Insisted on much in my earlier years, To wit, ‘Little pitchers have very long ears!’

1972 A. PRICE Colonel Butler’s Wolf i. He watched her shoo her sisters safely away... He had been lamentably careless in forgetting that little pitchers had large ears.

2002 Washington Times 10 Feb. D2 Are you familiar with the old saying, ‘Little pitchers have big ears’? Conversations..within your son’s hearing about your problems or about the problems you’re having with him will affect his behavior negatively.


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