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know a hawk from a handsaw
To be able to tell two things apart. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Of course I know which twin is which, I know a hawk from a handsaw, after all!
know chalk from cheese
To be able to tell two things apart (especially by recognizing their differences). Of course I know which twin is which, I know chalk from cheese, after all! Leah has a beauty mark under her left eye, and Deena doesn't.
know for a fact
To have definitive knowledge of something. I know for a fact that he cheats in cards! I saw the ace up his sleeve. My mom says she knows for a fact that I'm getting the internship at her company, but I won't believe it until the recruiter calls me.
know (something) inside and out
To be well-versed in and/or very familiar with something. I'm ready for this exam—I know genetics inside and out! I think Mary will do great at the audition, now that she knows the dance inside and out. These cabbies know the city streets inside and out.
know (one's) beans
To be knowledgeable about and/or very familiar with something. I had no idea you were such a good piano player—you really know your beans!
To have a familiarity with someone; to know who someone is. Such familiarity can range from close friendship to having only met someone once. Oh yeah, I know Mr. Meyers, he used to be my neighbor. He knew Vanessa long before she became a famous singer.
See also: know
know what's o'clock
To be attentive and aware of all that is going on. Those students thought they could get away with cheating in my class, huh? Too bad I know what's o'clock!
See also: know
know which way the wind blows
To be able to anticipate how a certain course or situation is likely to develop. These politicians know which way the wind blows regarding public opinion on the issue, and you can bet they'll vote accordingly.
know a thing or two
To be knowledgeable about something. The phrase is usually used to indicate that one knows more about something than someone thinks. Hey, I know a thing or two about art—I was an art history major in college, you know!
know (something) by heart
To have learned or memorized something completely. 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!
know (someone or something) inside out
To know everything or nearly about someone or something; to be thoroughly familiar with someone or something. I've read this book so many times that I know it inside out. If you study this material for weeks, you'll know it inside out by the test date. I just think you should know a person inside out before you decide to marry them.
To be aware or capable of better or smarter behavior than one has demonstrated. You know better than to talk to strangers! What were you thinking? You know better than to try to question that professor—he doesn't care what we have to say.
know the score
To understand the reality of a particular situation, often when that information is displeasing Oh, I know the score—my older sisters are allowed to do things that I'm not.
know (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. I know it's a little tricky getting the hang of the machine, but keep at it, and you'll know it off pat in no time. My sister is such a musical prodigy that she can know a song off pat after listening to it only once or twice.
know nothing and care less (about someone or something)
To have only a passing knowledge and absolutely no concern about someone or something. A: "Don't you have any family who would take you in?" A: "I had a half-brother who lived upstate, but the last time I checked, he knew nothing and cared less about what happens to me." There's no point getting frustrated at the computer. It's just a machine—it knows nothing and cares less about what you want it to do, only what you tell it to do.
know little and care less (about someone or something)
To have only a passing knowledge and absolutely no concern about someone or something. A: "Don't you have any family who would take you in?" A: "I had a half-brother who lived upstate, but the last time I checked, he knew little and cared less about what happens to me." There's no point getting frustrated at the computer. It's just a machine—it knows little and cares less about what you want it to do, only what you tell it to do.
know (someone or something) by sight
To recognize someone or something based on its or their appearance, but without knowing its or their name or any other information. Everyone in town knows the iconic bridge by sight, but few know the history of when it was built and why it was designed to look so peculiar. Even after working there for a year, there were still some co-workers whom I only knew by sight.
know too much
cliché To have too much detailed or intimate information (about someone or something) to be allowed to live, lest one divulges that information to someone else. The accountant knows too much about our… less legal sources of income. Eliminate him.
know what it is to be (something)
To have thorough knowledge about or a lot of experience of being something. Don't stand there and act like you know what it is to be a soldier. You've never even been in live combat. You should talk to Deborah. She certainly knows what it is to be mother running her own business.
know who's who
To know details about or have connections with everyone or many people in a group. Usually used in relation to groups of rich, powerful, or famous people. I feel like a total fraud in this relationship. I mean, she knows who's who in the ultra-rich upper class of Maine, while I'm just a poor bartender who's going to community college. If you want to get ahead in this industry, you need to know who's who.
(there's) no saying
There is no way one can be sure; no one knows or can tell. He's already very volatile at the moment—no saying how he'll react to bad news like this. Unfortunately, there's no saying if such an effort will actually translate to a meaningful, long-lasting improvement in the economy.
(there's) no telling
There is no way one can be sure; no one knows or can tell. He's already very volatile at the moment—no telling how he'll react to bad news like this. Unfortunately, there's no telling if such an effort will actually translate to a meaningful, long-lasting improvement in the economy.
(there's) no knowing
There is no way one can be sure; no one knows or can tell. He's already very volatile at the moment—no knowing how he'll react to bad news like this. Unfortunately, there's no knowing if such an effort will actually translate to a meaningful, long-lasting improvement in the economy.
know a thing or two
(about someone or something) Go to a thing or two (about someone or something).
know better (than to do something)
to be wise enough, experienced enough, or well trained enough not to have done something wrong. Mary should have known better than to accept a lift from a stranger. Children should know better than to play in the road.
know the scoreand know what's what
Fig. to know the facts; to know the facts about life and its difficulties. Bob is so naive. He sure doesn't know the score. I know what you're trying to do. Oh, yes, I know what's what.
Be able to recognize something as wrong or not possible, as in Mary should know better than to leave her child alone in the house, or Try to get in without a ticket? You know better than that. [c. 1700]
know the score
Also, know what's what. Understand what is happening; be familiar with the real story or the full situation. For example, It will take the new legislators some time to know the score, or When it comes to teaching youngsters to read, Nell knows what's what. The first expression, dating from about 1930, alludes to score as a tally of points in a game. The variant dates from about 1400.
know the scoreINFORMAL
COMMON If you know the score, you know and accept the real facts about a situation, even though you may not like them. I know the score — my career will last as long as my looks. Taylor isn't stupid — he knows the score. He has to produce results soon or he'll be out of a job.
know a thing or twobe experienced or shrewd.
1993 Rolling Stone Andy Shernoff …knows a thing or two about great glam punk.
know the scorebe aware of what is going on; be aware of the essential facts about a situation. informal
2002 New York Times Magazine Nowadays, everyone knows the score. Aside from discovering, say, that Tom Hanks is mean, what story of show business ugliness would scandalize us?
know too muchbe in possession of too much important information to be allowed to live or continue as normal.
know who's whobe aware of the identity and status of each person.
there is no knowingno one can tell.
know ˈbetter (than that/than to do something)be sensible enough not to do something: You left the car unlocked? I thought you’d know better. ♢ He knows better than to judge by appearances.
know the ˈscore(informal) know the true situation, especially if this is bad: Look, you know the score, we can’t afford a car right now.
know a thing or two (about somebody/something)(informal) know a lot about somebody/something from your own experience: After ten years as a teacher, I know a thing or two about how children learn. ♢ ‘How much do you know about computers?’ ‘Oh, I know a thing or two.’
there’s no ˈknowing/ˈsaying/ˈtelling...it is impossible to know/say/tell: There is no telling what he may do when he gets angry. ♢ There’s no saying what will happen.
know the score
tv. to know the way things work in the hard, cruel world. Don’t try to con me. I know the score.