Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

play it by ear

play it by ear
1) figurative: wait to take action depending on what happens next
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • don't decide now, just play it by ear and see what happens
  • Analysis
    When you play something by ear it means to perform music without having to read from a sheet or use a score. Figuratively to 'play something by ear' is an informal expression meaning to do something in an improvised way without a plan. Similar in meaning to, 'ad lib', 'make it up as we go along' or 'wing it'.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. The couple couldn't decide where to go on their date so they just played it by ear.
    2. I don't like to plan my holidays too much. I usually arrive and play it by ear depending on what I feel like doing.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. As the board was split in their vote, they agreed to play it by ear and wait for the year-end results.
    2. If you are playing it by ear when it comes to social media you are missing an opportunity to grow your leads.
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