lesson

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teach someone a lesson

to get even with someone for bad behavior. John tripped me, so I punched him. That ought to teach him a lesson. That taught me a lesson. I won't do it again.
See also: lesson, teach

learn a/your lesson

to understand something because of an unpleasant experience We learned a lesson from last year's failure to reform health care. You hope that prisoners will say, “I don't want to end up back in jail again – I've learned my lesson.”
See also: learn, lesson

teach (somebody) a lesson

also teach a lesson to somebody
to show what should not be done You would think that losing her job because she took too much time off would have taught her a lesson, but it's happened again! He had this idea that the government is evil and must be taught a lesson, so he blew up a government office.
See also: lesson, teach

learn your lesson

to learn something useful about life from an unpleasant experience I'm never going to mix my drinks again - I've learnt my lesson.
See know by heart
See also: learn, lesson

teach somebody a lesson

to punish someone so that they will not behave badly again The next time she's late, go without her. That should teach her a lesson.
See also: lesson, teach

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

read a lecture

Also, read a lesson. Issue a reprimand, as in Dad read us a lecture after the teacher phoned and complained. The first term dates from the late 1500s, the variant from the early 1600s. Also see read the riot act; teach a lesson.
See also: lecture, read

teach a lesson

Punish in order to prevent a recurrence of bad behavior. For example, Timmy set the wastebasket on fire; that should teach him a lesson about playing with matches . This term uses lesson in the sense of "a punishment or rebuke," a usage dating from the late 1500s. Also see learn one's lesson.
See also: lesson, teach
References in classic literature ?
After dinner, we immediately adjourned to the schoolroom: lessons recommenced, and were continued till five o'clock.
The lesson of expediency, my brethren, which I would gather from the consideration of this subject, is most strongly inculcated by humility.
This lesson I have tried to carry with me ever since.
But Mary Ann must be a GOOD girl, and finish her lessons.
But I can't give him the lesson until I catch him in the act.
Now, I will be good, master, and do my lesson nicely.
I'm to give three lessons a week; and, just think, Joe
For weeks after one of these auctions, having rendered his study uninhabitable, he would live about in the fifth-form room and hall, doing his verses on old letter-backs and odd scraps of paper, and learning his lessons no one knew how.
He imagined his father's having suddenly been presented with both the Vladimir and the Andrey today, and in consequence being much better tempered at his lesson, and dreamed how, when he was grown up, he would himself receive all the orders, and what they might invent higher than the Andrey.
I say, Magsie," said Tom at last, shutting his books and putting them away with the energy and decision of a perfect master in the art of leaving off, "I've done my lessons now.
Almost every day she came running across the prairie to have her reading lesson with me.
I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye.
I like them very well; but you see I had to give them a lesson.
Night came again, and the fire-flies flew; But the bud let them pass, and drank of the dew; While the soft stars shone, from the still summer heaven, On the happy little flower that had learned the lesson given.
Altho' I cannot agree with you in supposing that I shall never again be exposed to Misfortunes as unmerited as those I have already experienced, yet to avoid the imputation of Obstinacy or ill-nature, I will gratify the curiosity of your daughter; and may the fortitude with which I have suffered the many afflictions of my past Life, prove to her a useful lesson for the support of those which may befall her in her own.