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->'''Homer:''' [[MilkingTheGiantCow Can I still talk with my hands?]]
-> '''Michael (Fat Tony's son):''' No.
-> '''Homer:''' What about my ears?
-> '''Michael:''' *shakes head*.
-> '''Homer:''' *ears droop* Hrmm.
-->--Homer Simpson and Michael D'Amico, ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''.

ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: A character's ears are used to express his or her emotions.

An animation convention, similar to CartoonyEyes or DisembodiedEyebrows.

Unlike its cousin tropes, ExpressiveHair (in most cases) and ExpressiveMask, this trope actually leans toward being realistic because this is one way many animals in RealLife communicate their feelings. This obviously doesn't apply to human ears, though, so it's guaranteed all of the characters who use this trope are NotQuiteHuman. In many animated series, characters that have ears on top of their heads will often sport hats or helmets that allow them to stick through (barring FridgeLogic of not being able to hear otherwise). This trope is probably part of the reason why.

Compare UnusualEars.

!! Examples:


[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Many Anime/{{Pokemon}} have expressive ears, including Pikachu and Meowth
* Elves and other long-eared folk, or even folk with anything approximating long ears, in anime often have expressive ears. It's rare for a long-eared character ''not'' to have Expressive Ears.
* Expressive ears were found on Deedlit in ''Roleplay/RecordOfLodossWar.'' Being [[TropeCodifier the first]] of those foot-long eared elf varieties helped.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Utawarerumono}}'', the people have expressive tails as well as expressive ears.
* Holo from ''LightNovel/SpiceAndWolf'', whose ears twitch when she hears something interesting and sag when she is feeling sad.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Blacksad}}'', characters ears will go back when they are threatened (or are being threatening), they'll droop when they are sad, and perk up when excited. The creators [[ShownTheirWork know their animal mannerisms]].
* Kill Wolfhead in ''ComicBook/TheIncal'' series.
* In ''ComicBook/ToothAndClaw'', similar to the ''Blacksad'' example above, the [[PettingZooPeople anthropomorphic animal]] characters' ears react in accordance with their real life counterparts.

[[folder: Film]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}''
* Na'vi in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' are another example.
* In ''Film/GodzillaVSMechagodzilla'' and ''Film/GodzillaFinalWars'', King Seesar's ears would perk up whenever he was excited or surprised.
* ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'': When Luke manages to lift the X-Wing fighter partly out of the swamp, Yoda's ears rise slightly in awe. When Luke fails to lift it all the way out, Yoda's ears droop down.
* Toothless in ''Film/HowToTrainYourDragon''.
* Sloth from ''Film/TheGoonies''.
* Alfalfa of ''Film/TheLittleRascals''.
* Rémy of ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'', has this in spades, even though his behaviors and mannerisms are slowly becoming more human.
* In ''Film/{{Hop}}'', E.B.'s ears are very expressive. His dad's, not so much, perhaps as a distinction between the two.
* Barf the mog from ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}''.
* Creator/LaurelAndHardy: In "A Chump in Oxford", Stan Laurel is able to wiggle his ears whenever he gets mad. It's still a pretty convincing effect, by the way.

[[folder: Literature]]
* Ogier in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''.
* Bibwit Harte from ''Literature/TheLookingGlassWars''.
* The Huanni in the Literature/StarTrekNovelVerse.
* Eo from ''Literature/{{Argo}}'' has unusually expressive ears for an android.
* Seen on the title character in Anna Dewdney's ''Llama Llama'' picture books.
* Creator/MattStover's novelization of ''Franchise/StarWars Episode III: Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' makes several references to Master Yoda's ears moving in tune with his moods. "He curled his ears at Anakin."
* In the ''Literature/AnimalAnticsAToZ'' picture books, Jeremy Jackrabbit has these. Possibly other characters too.
* All the feas in ''Literature/DestinedToLead''.
* This [[http://edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com/ProductDetailPage.aspx?sequence=88&group=catalog&mailingID=0&mailingGroupID=0&catalogID=908248&org=&sku=1484722108 upcoming Disney picture book]] makes special point of this in relation to the ears of Thumper from ''Disney/{{Bambi}}''.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' parodies and spoofs often give this attribute to Spock: [[http://bp2.blogger.com/_mpOAS-HxaQU/RueGSsnLhFI/AAAAAAAAASA/UePcV_Q-1Ns/s1600-h/heineken-spock.jpg This advert for lager, for example]].
** ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' has the antenna-like ears of the Andorians that seem to do this.
* ''Series/SpittingImage'': Prince Charles' puppet was able to wiggle his ears separately.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* ComicStrip/{{Garfield}} will sometimes lay his ears back when he's angry, when he's frightened, or when he's groggy in the morning and [[MustHaveCaffeine hasn't had his coffee yet]].
* Similarly, in ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', Snoopy's ears rise when he is startled or receives good news. In one strip from the 1950s, Schroeder was listening to music on the radio, and Snoopy made a square with his ears.
* Dogbert from ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' has ears that fly up sometimes.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Space 1889}}'': Martian ears express their mood.
* ''The TabletopGame/{{Traveller}} Adventure'': Vargr [bipedal wolf] characters were shown as having Expressive Ears, including flattening the ears against the skull when afraid.
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', a number of monster races have this, depending on how much focus the writer puts on them other than "Kill them and take their stuff." Goblinoids are a common example.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Blood Elves and night elves in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' do this with the emote system: if they're sad or scared, their ears will droop, and when they cast spells in general, their ears wiggle along with the casting animation.
* Laharl and Etna's ears from ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'' change with their mood.
* ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClank'' likes to make use of this trope. The first game in particular features a lot of ear movement, as Ratchet is essentially the Lombax equivalent of a moody teenager; later games tone it down, though his ears will still droop if he's low on health or otherwise in a particularly negative mood.
* The Asura in ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' even ''shrug'' with their ears.
* Raven's ears in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' wiggle when he lies.

* Absolutely any FurryComic has this. The author of ''Webcomic/GeneCatlow'' even admitted that he liked to draw furries because [[FurriesAreEasierToDraw it's easier to draw their expressions]] when using things like tails and ears.
* The angels in ''Webcomic/{{Misfile}}'', particularly Rumisiel.
* Frequent for any long-eared characters appearing in ''Webcomic/AwkwardZombie''.
* ''Webcomic/{{Lackadaisy}}'' is a webcomic where the creator received several awards based off the expressions of her anthropomorphic cats.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'' the elven races have expressive ears, as seen in [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?id=638 the first and third panel]].
* ''Webcomic/CornerAlley13'' demonstrates this [[http://corneralley.comicgenesis.com/d/20040519.html regarding elves]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}'': [[{{Cats}} Misto]] (he is a cat or a CatBoy) and [[Film/{{Labyrinth}} Jareth]] (He is a FairFolk in this fanwork but it's not clear yet if this is a family trait or not).
* Many characters in ''Webcomic/{{Precocious}}'', but of the main characters Autumn's "mood ears" are the most versatile.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Concession}}'', Clive's ears hang down, while [[SplitPersonality his alternate personality]] Ernest's ears stick up.
* In ''Webcomic/CommanderKitty'', it's to be expected in a [[WorldOfFunnyAnimals Galaxy of Funny Animals]], and pretty much embodied by MoodSwinger Zenith and her [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2011/06/26/bedside-manners/ long, rabbit]]-[[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2011/08/28/process-of-elimination/ like ears]].
* Florence from ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', although sometimes it can be hard to tell if she changes angles between scenes.
* Marena from ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation'' has very expressive fox ears as part of her [[GlamourFailure Tell]].
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', when Sarah is experimenting with furry morphs, her cat ears [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2012-11-02 reflect her mood by drooping and even wiggling]].

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/BugsBunny's ears do this.
* Stitch from ''Disney/LiloAndStitch''.
** Disney uses that trope a lot, especially for rabbits (''Disney/{{Bambi}}'') and elephants (''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'', ''Disney/{{Tarzan}}'').
** The Beast has these in ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''.
* Orko from ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' has been shown to have his ears droop down when sad.
* Toothless in the film of ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'' has ear-like projections that serve the same function.
* The ponies of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' have these.
* Everyone in the Watterson family (except Darwin) has these in ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball''.
* Next to his eyes, [[WesternAnimation/WallaceAndGromit Gromit's]] ears are his most expressive feature. It's also seen on some of the characters in the Aardman productions ''WesternAnimation/ShaunTheSheep'' and ''WesternAnimation/TimmyTime''.
* Human example: Dopey from ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs''.
* All the animals in ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'', Bambi and Thumper in particular.
* [[Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit Roger Rabbit's]] ears are all over the place.
* WesternAnimation/PlutoThePup has expressive ears. WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}}, however, seems to have lost that ability.
* Rabbit on ''Literature/{{Franklin}}'' will generally droop his ears when he's sad about something. Snail also these little ear-stalks that will droop when he's sad. Fox can do it too, though it is nearly as noticeable or common. Moose as well, though he's only seen in one episode of the TV show and a smattering of the original books.
* Roo on ''[[Disney/TheManyAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh Winnie the Pooh]]'' does it when he's sad. I'm not sure if Rabbit does it, but I've definitely seen it with Roo. Piglet can do it, too.
* Used with Rabbit and possibly Mouse as well on ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Friend_Rabbit My Friend Rabbit]]''.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Slaver Weapon". The Kzinti (cat-like humanoid aliens) lay their ears back when angry.
* Fievel in ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'', whose ears go down when he's sad and up when he's alert. There's also a couple of scenes in which he shifts them around to try to listen for his father's violin. They're forced down whenever he wears his iconic hat though.
* Horton in ''Literature/HortonHearsAWho''.
* The Nutbrown Hares on ''Literature/GuessHowMuchILoveYou: The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare'' both express emotions through their ears, though it's generally much more noticeable with Little Nutbrown Hare, whose moods, as a youngster, shift much more frequently. Some of the other characters can do it, too.
* Sometimes seen with Buster on ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}''. LampShaded in the teaser of "Arthur's New Glasses" in which his ears are in a continuously droopy state and Muffy thinks that he's sad, but he keeps insisting there's nothing wrong.
* Skip the rabbit on ''WesternAnimation/WildAnimalBabyExplorers'' has ears that he can droop and move about. It's sort of LampShaded when the characters are observing real horses and he notes that they can move their ears, just like he can.
* Occasionally seen on the Piplings, the main characters of ''Waybuloo'', a preschool-targeted series aired on [=CBeebies=] in the United Kingdom and Creator/TreehouseTV in Canada.
* Dinky, a fully anthropomorphic elephant on the stop-motion Disney series ''WesternAnimation/JoJosCircus'', has these.
* Beast Boy from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' has pointy ears that flip downward when he's upset.
* Seen on the characters, all anthropomorphic cats, of [=TOTO=] (''This One and That One''), a short-form series presented on-demand on Kabillion on some U.S. cable/satellite providers. The series can also be watched officially and for free on [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KTj08WBYd-E YouTube]].
* Timothy has them on ''WesternAnimation/TimothyGoesToSchool''. His ears can pin all the way down when he's really sad about something. Yoko exhibits this too and possibly some of the other characters as well.
* Yakko Wakko and Dot from ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' raise their ears when listening to something, they droop when they're sad, they also point straight up when they are aroused, shocked, or frightened.
* On ''WesternAnimation/PeterRabbit'', this is seen on occasion. In "The Tale of the Angry Cat," when Peter tells Cottontail that it's way too dangerous for him to catapult her into Mr. [=McGregor=]'s garden, her ears droop straight down and she cries.
* On ''WesternAnimation/PegPlusCat'', Cat has them; they can get quite droopy when he's sad about something.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LeapFrog'' ''Scout and Friends'' videos, Penny certainly has them. Possibly some of the others as well.
* On ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', Garazeb Orrelios has them. Likely a trait of the Lasat species. Cikatro Vizago has them too.
* On ''WesternAnimation/GuessWithJess'', Jess has these, as well as several of his friends.
* In the 2003 ''WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake'', Honey Pie Pony has these, and the other fillies. Pupcake has them too.
* On ''Literature/MaxAndRuby'', they are most likely to be seen on Max.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Ear movements and positioning can be key in reading the body language of dogs, rabbits, horses and cats. Possibly other animals as well.
* Apparently, Japanese inventors [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w06zvM2x_lw have managed to replicate these in real life.]]
* Some people wiggle their ears when they wiggle their eyebrows, meaning if they're expressing an emotion with their eyes it might also show up in the ears. Much less extreme than other examples, though.
** Humans still retain some of the vestigial muscles that were once used to reposition our ears to better hear potential threats. And while we can't match the expressiveness of dogs or other animals, with practice most humans can learn to wiggle their ears on command.
* Cats. Their ears perk up when excited, and fold back when angry.