Meaning of “prick (sth) up” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"prick (sth) up" in British English

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prick (sth) up

phrasal verb with prick uk /prɪk/ us /prɪk/ verb [ T ]

When an animal pricks its ears up, or when its ears prick up, it puts its ears up straight because it is listening carefully to a small sound or one that is far away.

If you prick up your ears, or if your ears prick up, you suddenly begin to listen very carefully because you have heard something interesting:

I overheard them mentioning my name and pricked up my ears.

(Definition of “prick (sth) up” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)