Can “hear out” also have a connotation of not really listening? I want to make a distinction between carefully listening to a person and acting accordingly vs. just hearing somebody out, while still acting as one deems best (maybe employing some of the suggestions or none at all).

Does this sentence make sense or is it oxymoronic: "Rather than listening to his suggestions, the boss merely heard him out."

(I could, of course, use some other formulation, but I am still interested if "hear out" works)

  • Any sequence of words can have a meaning different from the normally assumed one, based on the state of mind of the speaker. Sometimes the listener can even detect this incongruity based on the speaker's tone of voice. – Hot Licks Sep 15 '17 at 3:29
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    To "hear someone out" means to let someone have his say, usually completely. It implies attentiveness. – Robusto Sep 15 '17 at 3:44
  • Indeed, jxh; tag edited. If Robusto is right, then indeed "hear out" does not really connote a possible superficial attentiveness. Thanks! – Howard Roark Sep 15 '17 at 4:43
  • Different dictionaries give different denotations, never mind connotations. Some just give the completive sense, while others include the requirement of an attentive / appraising attitude. 'Please hear me out' certainly suggests that you think the addressee won't listen at all / won't pay any/due attention to what you say. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 15 '17 at 15:41
  • Thank you. I guess it boils down to the sample sentence. Does it make sense to say: "Rather than listening to his suggestions, the boss merely heard him out." Or is this sentence inherently illogical? – Howard Roark Sep 16 '17 at 16:36

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