Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 19, 2007
In Reply to: Re: Ear of corn posted by ESC on April 17, 2007
: : Does anyone know the meaning of the middle English phrase or saying 'an ear of corn'?
: How was the phrase used? I don't know any meaning beyond the literal. An ear of corn is an ear of corn. Also known as "corn on the cob" as opposed to kernels cut off the cob.
Perhaps the OP is asking why a head of grain (the phrase is also used in the UK of a spike of other grains such as barley or wheat) should be called an "ear". The answer is that it derives from an old Germanic word "ahir", meaning "husk, chaff". It's actually an entirely different word from "ear" meaning the organ of hearing; they just look and sound the same! (VSD)