Ive often heard people say:

"Your ears are burning."

Specifically after someone hearing people talking about him or her. I'm curious what the origin of this is. There's got to be an interesting story behind this one.


2 Answers 2


According to tinyonline:

One's ears are burning:

  • one is being talked about. A tingling or burning sensation in the ears supposedly means that a person is being discussed by others. The origin of this belief goes back to Roman times when augurs (see Under the auspices of) paid particular attention to such signs. Pliny wrote: 'It is acknowledged that the absent feel a presentiment of remarks about themselves by the ringing of their ears' (Naturalis Historia, AD 77). The ancient belief that the left signifies evil and the right good applies here also. Both Plautus and Pliny held that if a person's right ear burns then he is being praised, but a burning left ear indicates that he is the subject of evil intent. English literature, from Chaucer to Dickens, abounds with references to burning ears.

  • According to ancient belief, other unexpected bodily twitches and sensations also warn of events to come, among them the eye and the thumb. A flickering right eye, for instance, indicates that a friend will visit or that something longed for will soon be seen, and a pricking in one's left thumb warns of an evil event.


I would guess a likely origin for the expression would be the flushed feeling (hotness and redness) one gets due to increased blood flow to the face and ears when one becomes self-conscious or embarrassed as a result of, for example, being talked about.

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