phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Pin your ears back

Posted by Pamela on October 10, 2007

In Reply to: Re: Pin your ears back posted by ESC on October 09, 2007

: : : I read a book years ago about needle makers hundreds of years ago. The phrase "pin your ears back" was used by an adult to a child. As small children were used to make the tiny needles and pins as their fingers were smaller for the delicate work. If they messed up a batch the 'boss' would pin them by their ears to the wall as a punishment for not working properly. Hence Pin your ears back... listen! or else.. What do you think?

: : A historian friend of mine had begun a book on the needle-making trade in Hathersage, Derbyshire, so this would have been a good question to ask her. Sadly, she died earlier this year, so that ship has sailed.

: : She was quite a forthright person and, although I've no actual knowledge of the habits of needlemakers, I can just imagine the response to this query. Tosh!

: You can tell an animal's mood, in some cases, by the position of his/her ears. The ears go back, look out.


Common sense suggests that you would not be able to pin a child to a wall by the ears. The pins would need to be very long and normal pins, at least, wouldn't be strong enough. And the wall would need to be soft. Pamela