Etymology
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ear (n.1)

"organ of hearing," Old English eare "ear," from Proto-Germanic *auzon (source also of Old Norse eyra, Danish øre, Old Frisian are, Old Saxon ore, Middle Dutch ore, Dutch oor, Old High German ora, German Ohr, Gothic auso), from PIE *ous- "ear" (source also of Greek aus, Latin auris, Lithuanian ausis, Old Church Slavonic ucho, Old Irish au "ear," Avestan usi "the two ears").

þe harde harte of man, þat lat in godis word atte ton ere & vt atte toþir. [sermon, c. 1250]

In music, "capability to learn and reproduce by hearing," 1520s, hence play by ear (1670s). The belief that itching or burning ears means someone is talking about you is mentioned in Pliny's "Natural History" (77 C.E.). Until at least the 1880s, even some medical men still believed piercing the ear lobes improved one's eyesight. Meaning "handle of a pitcher" is mid-15c. (but compare Old English earde "having a handle"). To be wet behind the ears "naive" is from 1902, American English. Phrase walls have ears is attested from 1610s. French orielle, Spanish oreja are from Latin auricula (Medieval Latin oricula), diminutive of auris.

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give (n.)

"capacity for yielding to pressure," 1868, from give (v.). The Middle English noun yeve, meant "that which is given or offered; a contribution of money," often as tribute, or in expectation of something in return.

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give (v.)

Old English giefan (West Saxon) "to give, bestow, deliver to another; allot, grant; commit, devote, entrust," class V strong verb (past tense geaf, past participle giefen), from Proto-Germanic *geban (source also of Old Frisian jeva, Middle Dutch gheven, Dutch geven, Old High German geban, German geben, Gothic giban), from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive." It became yiven in Middle English, but changed to guttural "g" by influence of Old Norse gefa "to give," Old Danish givæ.

Meaning "to yield to pressure" is from 1570s. Give in "yield" is from 1610s; give out is mid-14c. as "publish, announce;" meaning "run out, break down" is from 1520s. Give up "surrender, resign, quit" is mid-12c. To give (someone) a cold seems to reflect the old belief that one could be cured of disease by deliberately infecting others. What gives? "what is happening?" is attested from 1940. To not give a (some thing regarded as trivial and valueless) is from c. 1300 (early examples were a straw, a grass, a mite).

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ear (n.2)

"grain part of corn," from Old English ear (West Saxon), æher (Northumbrian) "spike, ear of grain," from Proto-Germanic *akhuz (source also of Dutch aar, Old High German ehir, German Ähre, Old Norse ax, Gothic ahs "ear of corn"), from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce" (source of Latin acus "chaff, husk of corn," Greek akoste "barley").

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give-away (n.)

also giveaway, "act of giving away," 1872, from verbal phrase give away, c. 1400 (of brides from 1719); see give (v.) + away (adv.). The phrase in the meaning "to betray, expose, reveal" is from 1878, originally U.S. slang. Hence also Related: give-away (n.) "inadvertent betrayal or revelation" (1882).

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ear-plug (n.)

also earplug, "piece of wax, rubber, cotton, etc., inserted in the ear as protection against noise or water," 1841, from ear (n.1) + plug (n.).

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give-and-take (n.)

1769, originally in horse-racing, referring to races in which bigger horses were given more weight to carry, lighter ones less; from give (v.) + take (v.). General sense attested by 1778. Give and take had been paired in expressions involving mutual exchange from c. 1500. Give or take as an indication of approximation is from 1958.

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ear-drum (n.)

also eardrum, "tympanic membrane," 1640s, from ear (n.1) + drum (n.).

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ear-worm (n.)

also earworm, 1880, "boll-worm, corn parasite" (corn-ear-worm attested from 1855), from ear (n.2) + worm (n.). Also an old alternative name for "earwig" (from ear (n.1)); from 1881 as "secret counselor." By 1989 as "annoyingly unforgettable pop song or part of a song."

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ear-ring (n.)

also earring, Old English earhring, "a ring or other ornament, with or without precious stones, worn at the ear," from ear (n.1) + hring (see ring (n.)). Another Old English word was earspinl. Now including any sort of ornament in the ear; the pendant sort originally were ear-drops (1720). Worn by Romanized Britons and Anglo-Saxons alike; their use declined throughout Europe in the Middle Ages but was reintroduced in England 16c., but after 17c. they were worn there almost exclusively by women.

The two groups which had formerly a near monopoly on male earrings were Gypsies and sailors. Both has the usual traditions about eyesight, but it was also said that sailors' earrings would save them from drowning, while others argued that should a sailor be drowned and washed up on some foreign shore, his gold earrings would pay for a proper Christian burial. ["Dictionary of English Folklore"]
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