Talk Someone’s Ear Off

Also:

Talk Someone’s Head Off.
Talk Someone’s Leg (or Arm) Off.
Talk Someone’s Pants Off.
Chew Someone’s Ear Off.

Meaning of ‘Talk Someone’s Ear Off’ Idiom

To talk someone’s ear off means to talk for a long time in a way that bores or bothers the listener until they are exhausted and sick of listening to you. This expression always has the connotation that the person doing the talking is annoying.

Related Idioms

Talk a Blue Streak
Talk the Hind Leg off a Donkey (or horse)
Talk the Bark off a Tree
Talk Nineteen to the Dozen

Examples Of Use

Often, this expression takes the form of a warning as in “Joe’s a great guy but don’t let him corner you; he’ll talk your ear off.”

“Every morning it’s a race to get away before my neighbor spots me, otherwise he’ll talk my ear off and make me late for work.”

“Listen, if I were you I wouldn’t invite Eugene over for dinner. He’ll talk your ear off.”

Origin

Dating from the first half of the 1900’s, this idiom alludes to a person talking so much that they abuse the other person’s ear to the point that it falls off. The variation ‘chew someone’s ear off’ is similar, but with the connotation of the ear being ‘worn away’ from overuse. The idea of the ear “falling off” may be related to the idiom ‘bend someone’s ear,’ perhaps suggesting that one’s ear is bent to its breaking point and thus detaches.

The variation ‘talk someone’s leg off’ may be related to the earlier idiom, talk the hind leg off a horse (or donkey). Talk someone’s arm off is a variation.

Talk someone’s head off is probably an exaggerated version of talk someone’s ear off but this idiom is sometimes used in a less negative way, especially when two or more people are talking for a long time. For example, when two friends haven’t seen each other in a while they might “talk their heads off.”

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