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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 ?
Like the Maharal, they were known for their learnedness, determination and fierce love of the Jewish people.
Eowyn, though a foreigner, is able to overcome the problem of language through her learnedness in the Common Speech, but she voices her anxieties about acceptance in her new home and removal from Rohan by saying wistfully to Faramir, "Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?
In Mirk's logic, though, it is not the faithful's careful attention to scripture that reveals them as knowledgeable people; rather, it is their ability to interpret the Virgin's symbolic presence that attests to their learnedness. While Mary is present everywhere, her ubiquitousness is figurative only.
Douglas Kneale's consideration of the complexity of allusion in 'Nutting' , which, in its openness to the play of language and in its sheer learnedness of reference, both alludes to and indeed stylistically emulates Hartman's critical practice, to J.
While the qualities of learnedness and erudition (even on the part of women) should not in themselves have been discarded, Bale wrote, the popess' idolatrous pursuit of necromantic books "demonstrated that these [Roman Catholic] libraries and the literary culture they fostered and exemplified ...
Her taste is responsible for using those styles to tease and stimulate rather than to impress the listener with learnedness. This is a point missed by some of her stuffier colleagues, and enshrined in her satirical text of "Don't play your sonata tonight, Mr.
Christianity does not have an exclusive on the qualities fear of the Lord, learnedness, insight, prudence, righteousness, justice, and equity.
Vern's learnedness and high professional standing, combined with his nonjudgmental outlook, over the years established a vital link between the gay and straight communities.
The primary role of postmodern professional organizations can no longer be that of a producer of learnedness, stability, and certainty in managing financial resources.
This brief summary of the general argument cannot reveal the complexity and learnedness of the arguments within each chapter.
In Jewish law, those equipped to answer legal questions are not determined by education and degrees, but by learnedness and community consensus.
(56) Mary undoubtedly took on this role, placing herself firmly within her text and leaving the reader no doubt that these considered views were hers, based not only on her learnedness but also her lived experience.
Chips, focus less on learnedness than on ability to teach, to relate to others--an archetype which itself gets confounded, for example in the character of Wing Biddlebaum from Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio whose teachings of young people are misinterpreted by the town's fathers.
Both our traditions have depth of learnedness and spiritual insight that only patient study and inner awareness can reveal.
The refinement and learnedness of Mary, whose descent from an English earl on her mother's side establishes her credentials as a woman of "quality," reflect Child's own social proclivities.