learn

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learn (something) down pat

To learn, master, or understand something perfectly, to the point of requiring little or no focus to do, recall, or accomplish it. I made sure to learn my speech down pat before the ceremony so I wouldn't spend the whole time looking down at piece of paper. My sister is such a musical prodigy that she can learn a song down pat after listening to it only once or twice.
See also: down, learn, pat

by heart

Completely; by memory. Often used in reference to something that one has memorized or knows very well. Ask Becky to recite the poem—she knows it by heart. I can't sing that song in front of an audience if I don't know the words by heart!
See also: heart

learn (one's) lesson

To learn through painful experience not to do something, often something one had been warned about or knew might be risky. I told you that you'd feel awful if you drank that much wine. I hope you've learned your lesson. I certainly learned my lesson about buying something from a stranger online.
See also: learn, lesson

learn (something) off pat

To learn, master, or understand something perfectly, to the point of requiring little or no focus to do, recall, or accomplish it. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I know it's a little tricky getting the hang of the machine, but keep at it, and you'll learn it off pat in no time. My sister is such a musical prodigy that she can learn a song off pat after listening to it only once or twice.
See also: learn, off, pat

It is never too late to learn.

 and You are never too old to learn.
Prov. You can always learn something new. Alan: Help me make the salad dressing. Jane: But I don't know anything about making salad dressing. Alan: You are never too old to learn. Grandma decided to take a course in using computers. "It's never too late to learn," she said.
See also: late, learn, never

learn a thing or two

(about someone or something) Go to a thing or two (about someone or something).
See also: learn, thing, two

learn about someone or something

to find out about someone or something. What have you learned about Mr. Franklin and his business dealings? I learned about what causes rain.
See also: learn

learn by something

to learn [something] from some kind of actual experience. The best way to learn is to learn by doing. The best way to learn to sail is to learn by sailing.
See also: learn

learn from someone or something

to learn [something] from the experience of someone or something. Pay attention to what Sarah does. I think you can learn from her. This was quite an experience, and we all can learn from it.
See also: learn

learn of someone or something

to find out about someone or something. Fm not in the telephone book. How did you learn of me? How did you learn of our company?
See also: learn, of

learn something by heart

Fig. to learn something so well that it can be written or recited without thinking; to memorize something. The director told me to learn my speech by heart. I had to go over it many times before I learned it by heart.
See also: heart, learn

learn something by rote

Fig. to learn something by memorizing without giving any thought to what is being learned. I learned history by rote; then I couldn't pass the test that required me to think. If you learn things by rote, you'll never understand them.
See also: learn, rote

learn something from someone or something

to find out something from someone or something. I don't know when the children are due to arrive. See what you can learn from Walter. lam sure we can learn something from this experience.
See also: learn

learn something from the bottom up

Fig. to learn something thoroughly, from the very basics; to learn all aspects of something, even the least important ones. I learned my business from the bottom up. I started out sweeping the floors and learned everything from the bottom up.
See also: bottom, learn, up

learn (something) the hard way

 and find (something) out the hard way
to learn something by experience, especially by an unpleasant experience. (As opposed to learning in school, from reading, etc.) She learned how to make investments the hard way. I wish I didn't have to learn things the hard way. I found out the hard way that it's difficult to work and go to school at the same time.
See also: hard, learn, way

learn to live with something

Fig. to learn to adapt to something unpleasant or painful. Finally the doctor told Marion that she was going to have to learn to live with her arthritis. The floor plan of the house we bought is not as spacious as we had thought, but we will learn to live with it.
See also: learn, live

live and learn

Cliché to increase one's knowledge by experience. (Usually said when one is surprised to learn something.) I didn't know that snakes could swim. Well, live and learn! John didn't know he should water his house-plants a little extra in the dry winter months. When they all died, he said, "Live and learn."
See also: and, learn, live

*ropes

Fig. knowledge of how to do something; how to work something. (*Typically: know ~; learn ~; show someone ~; teach someone ~.) I'll be able to do my job very well when I know the ropes. John is very slow to learn the ropes.
See also: rope

*thing or two (about someone or something)

 
1. bits of information or criticism about someone or something; a few facts about someone or something. (Typically: find out ~; know ~; learn ~; tell someone ~.) I told Bob a thing or two about cars. I know a thing or two about Mary that would really shock you.
2. a few points of criticism about someone or something. (Typically: tell some-One ~.) I told her a thing or two about her precious little boy! Let me tell you a thing or two about your messy yard!
See also: thing, two

*tricks of the trade

special skills and knowledge associated with any trade or profession. (*Typically: know ~; learn ~; show someone ~; teach someone ~.) I know a few tricks of the trade that make things easier. I learned the tricks of the trade from my uncle.
See also: of, trade, trick

We must learn to walk before we can run.

Prov. You must master a basic skill before you are able to learn more complex things. Maria wanted to make a tailored jacket as her first sewing project, but her mother convinced her that she should make something much simpler; she would have to learn to walk before she could run.
See also: before, can, learn, must, run, walk, we

by heart

Also, by rote. From memory; also, mechanically. For example, Betty had trouble learning the song by heart, but her teacher insisted on it, or Japanese schools put heavy emphasis on learning by rote. These terms are often put as know by heart or learn by rote . The first term was already used by Chaucer (in Troilus and Cressida). The variant, also dating from the 1300s, often implies mere memorization without deeper understanding. Both phrases remain in use, although this form of learning is no longer so widespread as it once was. Also see commit to memory.
See also: heart

learn by heart

Also, learn by rote. See under by heart.
See also: heart, learn

learn one's lesson

Profit from experience, especially an unhappy one. For example, From now on she'd read the instructions first; she'd learned her lesson. Also see hard way.
See also: learn, lesson

learn to live with

Get used to or accustom oneself to something that is painful, annoying, or unpleasant. For example, The doctor said nothing more could be done about improving her sight; she'd just have to learn to live with it , or Pat decided she didn't like the new sofa but would have to learn to live with it.
See also: learn, live

live and learn

Profit from experience, as in I ignored the garden book, planted my beans in March, and they all rotted-live and learn . [Second half of 1500s]
See also: and, learn, live

thing or two

Quite a lot, as in You can count on Bob to tell you a thing or two about Iran. This term is nearly always an understatement. [Mid-1800s] Also see under know all the answers.
See also: thing, two

tricks of the trade

Clever ways of operating a business or performing a task or activity, especially slightly dishonest or unfair ones. For example, Alma knows all the tricks of the trade, cutting the fabric as close as possible, or The butcher weighs meat after it's wrapped; charging for the packaging is one of the tricks of the trade .
See also: of, trade, trick

learn the ropes

COMMON If you learn the ropes, you learn how to do a particular job or task. He tried hiring more salesmen to push the products, but they took too much time to learn the ropes. By the time he was 34, he had learnt the ropes of the jewellery trade. Note: You can also say that someone knows the ropes when they know how a particular job or task should be done. He'd been in the business for over ten years so he knew the ropes. Note: The origin of this expression is from sailing ships, where the sailors had to get to know the complicated system of ropes which made up the rigging.
See also: learn, rope

tricks of the trade

n. special skills and knowledge associated with any trade or profession. I know a few tricks of the trade that make things easier.
See also: of, trade, trick

by heart

Learned by rote; memorized word for word.
See also: heart
References in classic literature ?
If you told him to stay up there, and go to sleep alone, make him do it, or he will never learn to mind you.
It was not, however, until we were all in a first-class carriage and well started upon our journey to Birmingham that I was able to learn what the trouble was which had driven him to Sherlock Holmes.
A friend came to me the other day and urged me very eloquently to learn some wonderful system by which you never forgot anything.
Those who are esteemed umpires of taste are often persons who have acquired some knowledge of admired pictures or sculptures, and have an inclination for whatever is elegant; but if you inquire whether they are beautiful souls, and whether their own acts are like fair pictures, you learn that they are selfish and sensual.
One learns many things then," she added with a certain pride.
When he grows up to manhood, he learns that his alleged are not his real parents; but who the real are he is unable to discover.
Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher, I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trou- ble, to learn how to read.
Also, have you thought what your superiors will say of you when they come to learn the true reason of your absence?
But if the task were, not to write off the English Bible, but to learn a language utterly unlike all other tongues, a language which hitherto had never been learned, except by the Indians themselves, from their mothers' lips,--a language never written, and the strange words of which seemed inexpressible by letters,--if the task were, first to learn this new variety of speech, and then to translate the Bible into it, and to do it so carefully that not one idea throughout the holy book should be changed,--what would induce you to undertake this toil?
She said that I must spend that time amongst her pupils to learn their characters, to be AU COURANT with everything that was passing in the house, to become interested in what interested her, to be able to give her my opinion on knotty points when she required it, and this she did constantly, never allowing my interest in the pupils to fall asleep, and never making any change of importance without my cognizance and consent.
I hed to learn too, but I wasn't more than eight years old when I got my schoolin'.
Yes, and thou must learn how to make pictures of roads and mountains and rivers to carry these pictures in thine eye till a suitable time comes to set them upon paper.
An aged count once lived in Switzerland, who had an only son, but he was stupid, and could learn nothing.
From the time that I can remember having any thoughts about anything, I recall that I had an intense longing to learn to read.
There are heaps of things you never learn at school,'"