Where Does the Expression “to Set People Together by the Ears” Come From and What Does It Mean?

The expression “to set people together by the ears” means to involve them in a quarrel; set them at variance; create among them.

The original ears were those of quarrelsome animals, those of cats especially, which tore at each other’s ears when fighting.

Thus Laurence Tomson in his translation (1579) of Calvin’s Sermons on the Epistles to Timothie and Titus wrote, “When we be together by the eares like dogs and cattes.”

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