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learn (all) the tricks of the trade

To learn the various clever or ingenious skills, techniques, or methods used by professionals to do something more easily or efficiently. You should ask your uncle to alter your shirt. He learned the tricks of the trade when he worked as a tailor's apprentice. Don't worry, I'll make sure you pay as few taxes as possible on your income. When you work as an accountant, you come to learn all the tricks of the trade.
See also: learn, of, trade, trick

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) by heart

To learn something very thoroughly; to memorize something. Ask Becky to recite the poem—she learned it by heart. You don't have to learn these principles by heart, we just want you to have a basic understanding of them.
See also: by, heart, learn

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

learn (something) from the bottom up

1. To learn or become knowledgeable about every or nearly every aspect of something, from the most mundane to the most nuanced. After working at this company for nearly 30 years, I've learned it from the bottom up. As the chief tax law specialist, it's my role to learn these new tax regulations from the bottom up.
2. To become knowledgeable about or skilled in something by beginning at the most basic level and then working one's way up to the more complicated or difficult aspects. I actually never had any sort of preternatural skill with mathematics—I had to learn it from the bottom up, just like most other students. I hard forgotten everything I knew about Japanese, so when I started studying it again in my 30s, I had to learn it from the bottom up all over again.
See also: bottom, learn, up

learn (something) the hard way

To learn or discover something through personal experience, especially that which is difficult, painful, or unpleasant. Starting your own business is really tough. I had to learn that the hard way. Everyone will tell you that becoming a parent is challenging, but you never really know what that means until you learn about it the hard way.
See also: hard, learn, way

learn a thing or two

To learn a bit more than one previously knew. You could learn a thing or two from Jeff—he's been with the company longer than anyone else. I'm hoping to learn a thing or two at this seminar about setting up my own business.
See also: learn, thing, two

learn about (someone or something)

1. To become knowledgeable or informed about someone or something. We learned about the rotation of the planets in science class today. The point of the game is for kids to learn about important historical figures in a fun, exciting way.
2. To discover or uncover some particular information about someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "learn" and "about. I learned something interesting about the way gravity works today. See if you can learn any dirty secrets about our opponent.
See also: learn

learn about (something) at (one's) mother's knee

To learn something from one's mother, typically when one is a child. I learned about baking at my mother's knee when I was just a girl.
See also: knee, learn

learn about (something) firsthand

To experience and engage with something directly (as opposed to secondhand or from a source other than oneself). It's time for you all to put your textbooks aside and learn about medicine firsthand—that's what hospital internships are for! You need to learn about love firsthand to know what it truly feels like. Hearing people talk about it just does not do it justice.
See also: firsthand, learn

learn by

To become knowledgeable about or experienced in something through some activity or behavior. Learning by rote has been proven by many studies to be nearly useless in the long-term retention of information. You've got to learn by doing these things for yourself.
See also: by, learn

learn by rote

To use repetition to memorize something, as opposed to acquiring a full or robust comprehension of it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "learn" and "by." Learning by rote has been proven by many studies to be nearly useless in the long-term retention of information. There are so many characters in the Japanese alphabets that I have to learn them by rote.
See also: by, learn, rote

learn from (someone or something)

1. To acquire knowledge, wisdom, or experience from someone or something. I learned from the greatest still-life painter in the world. I'm trying to learn from my past mistakes.
2. To glean or acquire specific knowledge, wisdom, or experience from someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "learn" and "from." I'm going to be sad to see you go, boss—I've learned everything I know about the business world from you. I'm learning a lot about the way this works just by watching what other people do.
See also: learn

learn of (someone or something)

To discover or become informed about someone or something. By the time I learned of his treachery, he had already escaped with the diamonds. We've learned of an artist in the south of France who would be perfect for our project.
See also: learn, of

learn the ropes

To learn or understand the basic details of how to do or perform a job, task, or activity. We have a few high-priority projects we need to get done now, so you'll need to learn the ropes on your own. This class is intense! They don't even give you a chance to learn the ropes before they throw an exam at you.
See also: learn, rope

learn to live with (someone or something)

To learn to accept someone or something; to get used to or become accustomed to someone or something. Said especially of a person or thing that one initially finds unpleasant, undesirable, or annoying. The paint job looks kind of sloppy, but I'll just have learn to live with it, unless I want to redo the whole thing myself. At first my roommate's habits were infuriating, but eventually I learned to live with them. I know you don't get along, but you're partners now, so you'll have to learn to live with each other.
See also: learn, live, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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 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: by, 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: by, learn, rote
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
He notes of himself, "I held a middle ground, highly scientific, of course, and used to argue learnedly about the physiological limitations of [women]" (9).
One person spoke, learnedly, of using people's skills--more particularly that some people had special skill in administration and therefore should be given 'the opportunity' of doing more of it.
Some of the younger group of enthusiasts who scoff at the influence of heredity, and who talk learnedly about environment as the cause of the majority of misfits, pooh-pooh the occurrence of dementia praecox at early age, and assert that nearly all of the children who show the symptoms of this disease clear up eventually.
Two dilettante courtiers [are] learnedly criticising, the one in the hood is meant for Gower.
Tennyson, for example, took refuge in the elaborate patriotic historicist architectonic of the Idylls of the King; Browning buried his villains and miscreants in the learnedly displaced Renaissance scaffolding of The Ring and the Book; and Morris invoked Chaucer as the patron saint of his twenty-four exquisitely counterbalanced classical and medieval verse-narratives in The Earthly Paradise.
The author is not a cleric, but he is learnedly religious, and the religious discussions are therefore detailed and sensitive, illuminating about the actual beliefs and practices of Catholic and Protestant Christians and Muslims in the period as well as revelatory of the pressures at work when people tried to talk across so heavily fortified and traumatic a barrier of confession.
"We [all of those in the movement to preserve the habitability of the Earth] do science, write books, publish articles, develop professional societies, attend conferences, and converse learnedly. But they ...
Aut cur Victorinus, ut doing this more usefully, asseritis, illa tempestate copiously, learnedly? And, if the doctissimus, super eo commentarios work had been credible, why did he annotavit, frustra laborem also add another one, of the same assumens, quando quidem (j) super genre and name?
About what would be the result if I really had to get my academic coat off and get cracking with a combine in a field of malting barley instead of talking, very learnedly, of flogging the stuff.
at 161 (stating that the issue "was discussed and learnedly discussed; and yet [Jackson] persevered in his determination"); id.
Although she worked for years at Yale and can discourse learnedly on the Ringling Museum's paintings of St.
The test, it may be urged, is too difficult, ludicrously so, in fact I admit it is much easier to discourse learnedly on Sinaitic inscriptions or the morphology of Zend than to answer the short question proposed.
This quietly and learnedly devastating appraisal of Political Correctness in all its forms has been undertaken by a professor from the Department of Political Science at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania.
Among them were courtiers, diplomats, tax-farmers, businessmen, public administrators, doctors, and perhaps even a military man--a hard-headed lot, proudly, learnedly, and punctiliously Jewish.
The difficulty arose from the interpretation of the word 'person', which her former employer, Judge Poole, learnedly and ponderously investigated, and declared to mean 'man' in the relevant Act.