1. figurative: wait to take action depending on what happens next
don't decide now, just play it by ear and see what happens
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'.