it was so loud that I thought my ears might split

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Senior Member
According to dictionaries, the adjective earsplitting means extremely loud or shrill. As the word should derive from ear and split, I'm wondering if it's acceptable to write a sentence like this, instead of using earsplitting.

As the roller coaster shot down, everyone on board screamed, and it was so loud that I thought my ears might split.

Do you think the sentence is OK?
  • WestSideGal

    Senior Member
    English, US
    Normally we don't say that. We might say, "I thought my ears would burst!" or some other exaggeration. I've heard of people saying things about ears and eyes "bleeding" at the sound or sight of something that was too much to take in.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It would be understood rightly, but it's not idiomatic. I've never seen the two words grouped in such a way; in other words, we don't break up 'ear-splitting'.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    It seems that it used to be quite common to say “I thought my ears would split”. Here are just a few published examples to be found in Google Books:

    …he listened with such intensity that he feared the drums of his ears would split. (Appleton’s Journal, 1872)
    I thought my ears would split at their dreadful yells. (American adventure story, 1884)
    At the sound of his voice poor Gretchen’s head buzzed, and she thought her ears would split. (The Kindergarten-primary Magazine, 1899)
    To Sheriff Trowbridge it seemed as if his ears would split from the noise. (Adventure magazine, 1921)
    Surely the drums of his ears would split. (novel: Our Brother the Sun, 1954)
    I thought my ears would split with Eiddileg's bellowing. (novel: The High King, 1968)
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