According to the Oxford definition of behold it only applies to seeing and not to hearing.

be·hold /bəˈhōld/ verb archaic literary
verb: behold; 3rd person present: beholds; past tense: beheld; past participle: beheld; gerund or present participle: beholding
see or observe (a thing or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one). "behold your king!"
synonyms: see, observe, view, look at, watch, survey, witness, gaze at/upon, regard, contemplate, inspect, eye

What is the auditory version of behold?


5 Answers 5


I'd go with hark.

verb (used without object) 1. to listen attentively; hearken.

  • In the definition of behold it's explicit that the thing you are beholding is extremely impressive, I don't know if hark's definition is equivalent in that way
    – aaronman
    Oct 23, 2014 at 20:45
  • 1
    Contextually, "hark" is reserved for those awesome moments. If someone were just demanding attention, they'd probably say: "listen".
    – tylerharms
    Oct 23, 2014 at 21:05
  • 3
    @tylerharms or even "Hey, Listen!"
    – JustinM
    Oct 23, 2014 at 23:15
  • 1
    "Hark! The kettle has boiled!"
    – Mr_Chimp
    Oct 24, 2014 at 13:55
  • 3
    "All right stop, collaborate and hearken" Oct 24, 2014 at 20:08

Shakespeare answers this.

Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,


A modern equivalent (similar to Look! for Behold!) would be Hear that!


I'd suggest Oyez!

interjection 1. hear! attend! (a cry uttered usually twice by a court officer to command silence and attention, as before court is in session, and formerly by public criers).

or it's two-word equivalent, Hear ye! Behold is archaic as well, so I see no problem with recommending an auditory analogue that is archaic.

This still is used in courtrooms, and was widely used earlier for delivering spoken messages, generally official notices or even royal proclamations.

So "Oyez, oyez" at some point meant, "Be silent and pay attention, for I will read a proclamation from the King!" Or it could mean, "Be silent and pay attention, so that you don't get arrested for poaching salmon" But generally, you'd want to be silent and pay attention, because even if it was as trivial as an announcement of discounted sugar, you'd miss out if you didn't listen.

For a modern version, I'd recommend "Listen up!"


I also suggest (though it's as archaic as hark) hist.

(a sibilant exclamation used to attract attention).

an exclamation used to attract attention or as a warning to be silent

exclamation commanding silence, attested from 1610s; probably so chosen because the sound is both easy to hear and suddenly silent.

So "Hist! The King!" would mean "Hey sush, be quiet (and listen): the King has arrived."


Well, if you are looking for a more colloquial way to phrase this - "feast your ears". "Feast your eyes on..." is often used as a colloquial version of behold and so this is as perfect (albeit slightly improper) as you can get. Although I suspect you might be looking for something slightly more formal - 'hark', as others have suggested, is probably a good bet.

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