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-To let things go as they may.
-It is usually said when a person who is asked a question is not quite sure as to what to answer with.
Shirley: What are you doing tonight Bob?
Bob: Oh, I don't know...I'll just play it by ear.
by Frank Da' Tank May 16, 2005
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Another way of saying "go with the flow." Usually used when there's no set plans and everything furthermore will be done when it's done (or spontaneously).
Guy 1: "what are the plans for tomorrow night? Any parties?"

Guy 2: "idk, guess we'll just play it by ear."
by GMan2a April 13, 2016
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When you do not have a plan, or instructions. When someone is not going to follow a direction or plan, they are just going to figure it out as they go alone. The saying derives from a musician being asked "Do you know how to play the song....." . Although the musician has no music sheets or formal note instructions, since he/she has heard the song before he/she says "No, But I can play it by ear"

I child sitting at a piano figuring out them self how to play marry had a little lamb with no instruction is an example of "play it by ear"

The term now is used for all sorts of reasons, if your not sure how to do something, or what you are doing, but are happy to just figure it out as you go along.
What are you doing tonight? "I'm going to play it by ear"
by Know Stuff August 05, 2016
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Letting you down politely, when you ask someone to do something and they want to do something, just not with you, they will say they're going to "play it by ear".
"What do you want to do tonight?"

"I don't know; I think I'll just play it by ear."
by happycookie August 16, 2009
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We say play it by "ear" because we are making decisions as we HEAR them. This means we are not making any final plans right now because we might hear of other things that could prevent us from being able to participate. So basically it means I might have better shit to do.
Aimee: Hey can you hang out tomorrow night?
John: I might have to work late so let's play it by ear.
by The TRUE meaning is May 12, 2016
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