lesson


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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

teach (one) a lesson

To convince one to avoid some unwanted behavior in the future through the inflicting of some form of punishment or harm. Can be said of the harm or punishment itself, or the agent inflicting the harm or punishment. After the CEO was found guilty, he was forced to repay $150 million in damages and will spend the next 10 years in jail. If that doesn't teach him a lesson, I don't know what will. A: "The cat scratched Bobby this time when he pulled its tail again." B: "Well, that ought to teach him a lesson." Are you going to mess with my little brother again, or am I going to have to teach you a lesson?
See also: lesson, teach

an object lesson

An actual, concrete example of something. Your overreaction was an object lesson in how to ensure that your kids don't tell you the truth.
See also: lesson, object

read (one) a lesson

To scold, reprimand, or reprove someone severely for an error or mistake. I was read a lesson by my boss last week for messing up the accounting software. I know Mary messed up, but there was no need to read her a lesson for it.
See also: lesson, read

teach someone a lesson

to get even with someone for bad behavior. John tripped me, so I punched him. That ought to teach him a lesson. That taught me a lesson. I won't do it again.
See also: lesson, teach

learn one's lesson

Profit from experience, especially an unhappy one. For example, From now on she'd read the instructions first; she'd learned her lesson. Also see hard way.
See also: learn, lesson

read a lecture

Also, read a lesson. Issue a reprimand, as in Dad read us a lecture after the teacher phoned and complained. The first term dates from the late 1500s, the variant from the early 1600s. Also see read the riot act; teach a lesson.
See also: lecture, read

teach a lesson

Punish in order to prevent a recurrence of bad behavior. For example, Timmy set the wastebasket on fire; that should teach him a lesson about playing with matches . This term uses lesson in the sense of "a punishment or rebuke," a usage dating from the late 1500s. Also see learn one's lesson.
See also: lesson, teach

learn your ˈlesson

learn what to do or what not to do in the future because you have had a bad experience in the past: I used to carry a lot of money on me, until one day my bag was stolen. Since then, I’ve learned my lesson.
See also: learn, lesson

an ˈobject lesson

a practical example of what you should or should not do in a particular situation: It was an object lesson in how not to make a speech. He did absolutely everything wrong.An object lesson was a school lesson that used real objects as a way of teaching in a very direct and practical way.
See also: lesson, object

teach somebody a ˈlesson

(also ˈteach somebody (to do something)) learn from a punishment or because of an unpleasant experience, that you have done something wrong or made a mistake: He needs to be taught a lesson (= he should be punished).Losing all his money in a card game has taught him a lesson he’ll never forget.That’ll teach you! Perhaps you’ll be more careful in future!
See also: lesson, somebody, teach
References in classic literature ?
"But I hate for you to be giving lessons. It isn't Art.
"And I couldn't bear to have you give up your lessons; and I got a place ironing shirts in that big Twentyfourth street laundry.
How clever you are, Joe --and--kiss me, Joe--and what made you ever suspect that I wasn't giving music lessons to Clementina?"
I guess no, I think you are right about being thorough, for I used to understand a great deal better when papa taught me a few lessons than when Miss Power hurried me through so many.
"Queer lessons, I fancy; and what have you learned from this remarkable mixture, I should like to know?"
We are very good friends now, and I've begun to take lessons. I really couldn't help it, and it all came about in such a droll way that I must tell you.
Hearing the lessons he gives to others has interested and amused me so much that I took a fancy to lear, for Tina runs in and out, leaving the door open, and I can hear.
Never before and never again while Tom was at school did the Doctor strike a boy in lesson. The provocation must have been great.
Flashman laid wait, and caught Tom before second lesson, and receiving a point-blank "No" when told to fetch his hat, seized him and twisted his arm, and went through the other methods of torture in use.
The lessons taught me in this respect took such a hold upon me that at the present time, when I am at home, no matter how busy I am, I always make it a rule to read a chapter or a portion of a chapter in the morning, before beginning the work of the day.
When she found out that I had some inclination in this direction, she gave me private lessons in the matter of breathing, emphasis, and articulation.
As a result, having learned the lesson well, White Fang was hard put whenever he passed the cross-roads saloon.
The lessons were not tender that he had learned of their tyranny and cruelty in the days of the Indian villages.
One of them is prettier than the other; but this hatter (the one that takes the private lessons) is really une file prodigieuse.
However, it is the tall one, the one of the private lessons, that is the most remarkable.