Jsem jedno ucho

Czech Idioms - I am one ear

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 13.09.2011 16:22:48 (updated on 13.09.2011) Reading time: 1 minute

Has anyone ever told you “JSEM JEDNO UCHO” (I am one ear)? It sounds familiar, but you’re still not sure what they mean. It could be they are only listening “halfway” because they’re only using one ear. Or perhaps the person was just a Van Gogh fan?

Just like “DÁT SI DVACET“, this one is not too hard for native English speakers. We have a similar one “I am all ears”. So just like the English idiom, the person meant that he is listening carefully to what you are saying.

But why do Czechs use only one ear? Are they able to multi-task in their listening? Does it mean that they listen in mono mode, while, as we are all ears, we have surround sound? I tend to think they are just emphasizing that if you go to a Czech office you should be very patient, since they usually don’t speak English, and in Czech they use just one ear to listen to you. Of course, they mean that they are one big ear, doing nothing but listening. So, the meaning is the same, just from a different perspective.  

Examples: (with literal English translation)

CZ: Promiň, musela jsem to dokončit, ale teď už jsem jedno ucho.
ENG: I am sorry, I had to finish it, but now I am one ear.

CZ: Já jsem tak zvědavá, začni povídat, jsem jedno ucho.
ENG: I am so curious, start telling (the story), I am one ear.

GRAMMAR NOTE: Remember that UCHO is a gender nuetral, that is why we say JEDNO (feminine would be JEDNA and masculine would be JEDEN).

If you’re considering a course to learn the Czech Language, you can find a great selection right here.

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