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old school

(hyphenated if used before a noun) slang Of or characterized by an earlier era or older style. Can either refer to that which is considered antiquated or old-fashioned, or else to that which is remembered fondly or nostalgically. My dad likes to play music on this old-school record player. I don't know why he doesn't just get an iPod. Whoa, a vintage Ford Mustang. That's so old school, man! Her parents are pretty old school when it comes to living together before marriage.
See also: old, school

the school of life

The informal education one receives by learning from one's experiences, both good and bad, rather than a formal educational institution. My uncle might not have made it past grade school, but he's learned more from the school of life than most of our professors. A proper education is indeed important, but do not neglect the lessons you receive from the school of life.
See also: life, of, school

vaulting school

obsolete A house of prostitution; a brothel. ("Vaulting" being an allusion to sexual intercourse.) To such a depth of degradation he hast fallen, that his abode hast been a vaulting school for a fortnight past.
See also: school

new school

New and modern. The opposite of the more common descriptor "old school." Needing to post your every movement on social media is certainly a new school way of life—we had nothing like that when I was a kid. I'm intrigued by this new school method of multiplication.
See also: new, school

rule the school

slang To be the most popular or influential in one's school. Now that we're seniors, we're going to rule the school! The popular kids always think they rule the school, but not this year!
See also: rule, school

cut class

To miss class, usually intentionally and without a legitimate reason. I can't possibly sit through another class today, so let's just cut class and go to the beach.
See also: class, cut

teach school

To teach; to be a teacher in a school. Did you know that Karen teaches school? I thought she was stockbroker. Don't feel so bad. I've taught school for 30 years, and I still run into situations I don't know how to handle.
See also: school, teach

tell tales

To share secrets, often knowing that doing so will cause problems for someone else. Here's a tip: don't tell tales about your co-workers if you want to have any friends here.
See also: tales, tell

of the old school

Having views or subscribing to values or traditions from an earlier era. Typically describes one who is resistant to change or new ways of doing things. John is of the old school—he still believes in the effectiveness of corporal punishment. My grandmother is of the old school, so she would never make gravy with something out of a jar.
See also: of, old, school

from the old school

Having views or subscribing to values or traditions from an earlier era. Typically describes one who is resistant to change or new ways of doing things. John is from the old school—he still believes in the effectiveness of corporal punishment. My grandmother is from the old school, so she would never make gravy with something out of a jar.
See also: old, school

the old school tie

A bond of kinship between people who graduated from the same private school and help each other in the business world. The old school tie is still very influential in the firm, with the majority of upper management coming from the same university.
See also: old, school, tie

cut class

 and cut school
to skip a school class or a day of school without an excuse. As a joke, one day all the students cut their math class and went to lunch. Jane was grounded after she cut school last Friday.
See also: class, cut

from the old school

 and of the old school
Fig. holding attitudes or ideas that were popular and important in the past, but which are no longer considered relevant or in line with modern trends. (See also of the old school) Grammar is not taught much now, but fortunately my son has a teacher from the old school. Aunt Jane is from the old school. She never goes out without wearing a hat and gloves.
See also: old, school

How do you like school?

a phrase used to start a conversation with a school-age person. Bob: Well, Billy, how do you like school? Billy: I hate it. Bob: Too bad. Mary: How do you like school? Bob: It's okay. Almost everything else is better, though.
See also: how, like

Never tell tales out of school.

Prov. Do not tell secrets; do not gossip. Fred: I just learned something really scandalous about the president of our company. Ellen: Well, I don't want to hear it. You shouldn't tell tales out of school.
See also: never, of, out, school, tales, tell

school of hard knocks

Fig. the school of life's experiences, as opposed to a formal, classroom education. I didn't go to college, but I went to the school of hard knocks. I learned everything by experience.
See also: hard, knock, of, school

school of thought

a particular philosophy or way of thinking about something. One school of thought holds that cats cause allergic reactions. I come from the school of thought that believes people should always be polite.
See also: of, school, thought

school someone in something

to train, discipline, or coach someone in something. The voice coach schooled the singer in excellent breathing techniques. We were schooled in oratory and debate. She schooled herself in patience.
See also: school

tell tales out of school

to tell secrets or spread rumors. I wish that John would keep quiet. He's telling tales out of school again. If you tell tales out of school a lot, people won't know when to believe you.
See also: of, out, school, tales, tell

cut class

Absent oneself from a class or other, usually mandatory event, as in If he cuts one more class he'll fail the course. [Late 1700s]
See also: class, cut

school of hard knocks

The practical experience of life, including hardship and disappointments. For example, A self-made man, he never went to college but came up through the school of hard knocks. This idiom uses knock, "a blow," as a metaphor for a setback. [Mid-1800s]
See also: hard, knock, of, school

tell tales

Divulge secrets, as in Don't trust him; he's apt to tell tales. This expression was first recorded about 1350. A variant, tell tales out of school, first recorded in 1530, presumably alluded to schoolchildren gossiping but was soon broadened to revealing secret or private information. Both may be obsolescent.
See also: tales, tell

the old school

COMMON If you say that someone is of the old school, you mean that they have traditional ideas and values and are old-fashioned. As a builder of the old school, he did not always see eye to eye with designers of new houses. She belonged to the old school, preferring the formality of surnames even with colleagues. Note: You can say that someone is an old-school type of person, especially when talking about the job that they do. At 65, he is the last of the old-school managers, a holder of traditional values in a world dominated by younger, more sophisticated men.
See also: old, school

the old school tie

BRITISH
The old school tie is the way in which men who have been to the most famous British private schools use their positions of power to help improve the careers of other men who went to the same school. Networking is a major part of male culture — whether through the old school tie, the pub, the club or the sports field. Note: You can use the old school tie before a noun. So does the old school tie network still exist?
See also: old, school, tie

the school of hard knocks

The school of hard knocks is that way that people learn from their experiences in life, especially from bad experiences. He graduated from the school of hard knocks as well — most of his family died in the war. All of these skills I developed in the school of hard knocks. I certainly didn't get them at university. Note: This is being contrasted with a formal academic education and the qualifications obtained by studying at a school or college. A similar phrase sometimes used is `the University of Life'.
See also: hard, knock, of, school

a school of thought

COMMON A school of thought is a set of opinions that some people have, when there are other possible opinions. `There's a school of thought that says babies don't feel pain as we do,' he began carefully. The school of thought which demands something be done about obesity is based on a four-step argument.
See also: of, school, thought

tell tales

If someone tells tales, they tell someone in authority about something bad or wrong that someone else has done. She had no right to tell tales to his mother! They try to get convicted criminals to tell tales on their mates in return for cuts in their own sentences. Note: This expression is used to show disapproval.
See also: tales, tell

of the old school

traditional or old-fashioned.
1998 Imogen de la Bere The Last Deception of Palliser Wentwood He came of the old school, in which men did not weep in front of other men.
See also: of, old, school

the old school tie

the attitudes of group loyalty and traditionalism associated with wearing the tie of a particular public school. British
See also: old, school, tie

the school of hard knocks

painful or difficult experiences that are seen to be useful in teaching someone about life.
See also: hard, knock, of, school

school of thought

a particular way of thinking, especially one not followed by the speaker.
See also: of, school, thought

tell tales (out of school)

gossip about or reveal another person's secrets, wrong-doings, or faults.
As telling tales to school authorities is a terrible offence in the eyes of schoolchildren, this expression is often used in the context of declining to supply information or gossip.
1991 Mark Tully No Full Stops in India Indira trusted me throughout her life, and just because she's dead it's not right that I should break that trust and tell tales about her.
See also: tales, tell

of the ˈold school

following old methods, standards, etc: He’s one of the old school, a teacher who believes in discipline and politeness.
See also: of, old, school

the ˌold school ˈtie

(British English) an informal system in which upper class men educated at the same private school help each other with jobs, contracts, etc. in their adult lives: People say that the bank is run on the old school tie system.
See also: old, school, tie

a school of ˈthought

theories or opinions held by particular groups of people: There are two schools of thought on this matter.
See also: of, school, thought

tell ˈtales (about somebody/something)

(British English) tell somebody, especially somebody in authority, that another person has done something wrong: How did the boss know that I was late for work this morning? I think somebody’s been telling tales about me.
See also: tales, tell

tell ˌtales out of ˈschool

talk about the private affairs of a group or an organization to people who do not belong to it: I shouldn’t tell tales out of school, but my company is in serious trouble.
See also: of, out, school, tales, tell

old school

and old skool
mod. vintage; from an earlier time; retro. (Generally positive. As in the well-established expression from the old school.) His way of dealing with people is strictly old school.
See also: old, school

school someone

tv. to teach someone something, usually as a demonstration of power. (As in I’ll teach you a thing or two which suggests violence.) Am I gonna have to school you in how to act?
See also: school

old school tie

A social or business network of graduates of a secondary school, college, or university in which the members help each other because of their common bond. Among the sartorial details of the Harry Potter movies were the distinctive striped neckties that represented each house. The ties echoed those worn by students at real-life British boarding schools and universities and at American prep schools and colleges. Many alumni continue to sport the neckwear for the rest of their lives to show their academic heritage and to allow themselves to be recognized by fellow graduates. Small wonder, then, that this feeling of pride and sense of community makes these alumni kindly disposed to their colleagues, willing if not eager to help them find employment or membership and to gain advancement. In that sense, “tie” refers both to the cravat and to the interpersonal relationship. A similar expression, “old boy network,” comes from the British expression for a graduate of certain upper-crust boarding schools: As a graduate of Eton, James Bond was an Eton old boy.
See also: old, school, tie
References in classic literature ?
There seemed nothing humorous about this reply, which was merely the statement of a fact, but an irrepressible titter ran through the school.
The schoolhouse was some distance from the furnace, and as I had to work till nine o'clock, and the school opened at nine, I found myself in a difficulty.
I went to several places in that part of the country where I understood the schools to be most plentifully sprinkled, and had no occasion to deliver a letter until I came to a certain town which shall be nameless.
Another was, by favouring grossly the biggest boys, who alone could have given them much trouble; whereby those young gentlemen became most abominable tyrants, oppressing the little boys in all the small mean ways which prevail in private schools.
But in what way this trouble of poverty and ignorance is to be cured by schools is as incomprehensible as how the hen-roost affects the screaming.
During the afternoon the school teacher had been to see Doctor Welling concerning her health.
The bread and cheese was presently brought in and distributed, to the high delight and refreshment of the whole school.
On the fourth side was an iron railing through which you saw a vast lawn and beyond this some of the buildings of King's School.
Then she could have defied Davy, and gone to her beloved Sunday School.
A sufficient reason was discovered for the extraordinary appearance of a new pupil, on the day before the school closed for the holidays.
Now the school is open, and I shall hear you read, so that I may know in which class to put you, Miss Moore," began Rose with great dignity, as she laid a book before her scholar, and sat down in the easy chair with a long rule in her hand.
At school Samuel learned easily and read greedily all kinds of books.
The brown gingham and the blue print will do you for school when you begin to go.
Perkins, had elected to close the school year, and Cecily's troubles with Cyrus Brisk, which furnished unholy mirth for the rest of us, though Cecily could not see the funny side of it at all.
See Pinocchio hurrying off to school with his new A-B-C book under his arm
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