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