• To play something by ear means to improvise.

  • To decide how to deal with a situation as it develops rather than acting according to plans made earlier.

  • To let things go as they may.

1. A: What are you gonna do this Friday?

B: I think I’ll play it by ear.

2. A: Where are you off to after the party?

B: I’m not sure, I’ll probably play it by ear.

3. We haven’t made a decision yet. Let’s just play it by ear.

4. A: Where should be meet later?

B: Can we see how things go and play it by ear?


improvise, make it up as one goes along, take a situation as it comes, think on one’s feet

Rule with a velvet glove

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