ins and outs
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the ins and outs
The particular details and nuances of a situation, task, etc. I'm not surprised he made such a stupid mistake—he doesn’t know the ins and outs of this business.
ins and outs (of something)
the correct and successful way to do something; the special things that one needs to know to do something. I don't understand the ins and outs of politics. Jane knows the ins and outs of repairing computers.
ins and outs
1. The intricate details of a situation or process. For example, It takes a newcomer some time to learn the ins and outs of the legislative process, or David really knows the ins and outs of how this engine works. This usage alludes to the tortuous windings and turnings of a road or path. [Second half of 1600s]
2. Those with position and influence and those without, especially those in office versus those who are not, as in "Juan stood well both with Ins and Outs" (Byron, Don Juan, 1823). [Mid-1700s]
ins and outs, the
All the intricacies or ramifications of a situation. Originally this term referred to those in favor and those out of it, and then to those in or out of political office. As Chaucer put it in Troilus and Criseyde, “Weep if thou wolt, for out of doute, this Diomede is inne, and thou art oute.” Years later Thomas Jefferson (Writings, ca. 1814) similarly referred to “two parties, the ins and the outs.” Only in the nineteenth century did the term come to mean intricacies, referring to the windings and turnings of a complicated path or passage. Thomas Hood so used it in a late poem (“Laying Down the Law,” 1845): “The celebrated judge, too prone to tarry, to hesitate on devious ins and outs.”