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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012