know what's what, to

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know what's what

To know the true facts or most fundamental information (about someone or something). Kid, I've been doing this job for longer than you've been alive, so trust me when I say that I know what's what around here.
See also: know, what

what's what

slang The true facts or most fundamental information (about someone or something). After putting it off for a week, Sarah finally told Jane what's what and ended their relationship. I think it's about time that you knew what's what about how this business is run.
See also: what
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

know what's what

If you know what's what, you know the important things that need to be known about a situation. You have to know what's what and when to draw the line. You should come across the river with us. Then you will really see what's what.
See also: know, what
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

know what's what

have enough knowledge or experience. informal
1992 More I know what's what at work, so no-one's going to trip me up.
See also: know, what
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

know what’s ˈwhat

(informal) know all that needs to be known in a particular situation or in general: Ask Ann. She knows what’s what. She’s been here for years.
See also: know, what

what’s ˈwhat

(spoken) what things are useful, important, etc: She certainly knows what’s what.
See also: what
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

what's what

Informal
The fundamentals and details of a situation or process; the true state or condition.
See also: what
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

know what's what, to

To be cognizant of the full situation; to be familiar with all the facts. This term may have been coined by Samuel Butler (Hudibras, 1663): “He knew what’s what, and that’s as high as metaphysic wit can fly.” Dickens’s Sam Weller (Pickwick Papers) used it too: “‘That ’ere young lady’, replied Sam. ‘She knows wot’s wot, she does.’”
See also: know
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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