20 Idioms and Expressions Related to Learning

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Learning is a lifelong journey filled with challenges and discoveries. To capture the essence of this experience, various idioms and expressions have been coined over the years, making the language of learning both colorful and insightful. Whether you’re a student, teacher, or simply a curious mind, understanding these idioms can add depth to your conversations about education and personal growth. Here are 20 popular idioms and expressions related to learning, each explained with its meaning and illustrated with a simple example.

Idioms and Expressions Related to Learning

1. Hit the books

Meaning: Start studying.

Example: It’s exam week, time to hit the books.

2. Learn the ropes

Meaning: Acquire basic knowledge or skills.

Example: She’s new, still learning the ropes.

3. Back to the drawing board

Meaning: Start over.

Example: That didn’t work; back to the drawing board.

4. Teach an old dog new tricks

Meaning: Learn something new later in life.

Example: He learned to use a smartphone—proof you can teach an old dog new tricks.

5. School of hard knocks

Meaning: Learning from difficult experiences.

Example: He didn’t go to college; he’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks.

6. Burn the midnight oil

Meaning: Study until late at night.

Example: I had to burn the midnight oil to finish the thesis.

7. A quick study

Meaning: Learn quickly.

Example: She’s a quick study, picking up new concepts fast.

8. Cover a lot of ground

Meaning: Study or review a large amount of information.

Example: We covered a lot of ground in today’s lecture.

9. Open a can of worms

Meaning: Raise a complex, troublesome issue.

Example: Discussing the salary led to opening a can of worms.

10. On the same page

Meaning: Agree or have the same understanding.

Example: Let’s make sure we’re on the same page before the meeting.

11. Put thinking caps on

Meaning: Think seriously about a problem.

Example: Let’s put our thinking caps on to solve this.

12. Learn by rote

Meaning: Memorize without understanding.

Example: He learned the formula by rote.

13. Turn over a new leaf

Meaning: Make a fresh start.

Example: This semester, I’m turning over a new leaf.

14. Brainstorm

Meaning: Generate ideas together.

Example: Let’s brainstorm some new topics for our project.

15. Crack the books

Meaning: Open your books to study.

Example: No more TV, time to crack the books.

16. Sharp as a tack

Meaning: Very intelligent.

Example: She’s sharp as a tack, always knows the answer.

17. Think outside the box

Meaning: Think creatively.

Example: We need to think outside the box for a solution here.

18. Master of none

Meaning: Skilled at many things but not an expert in any.

Example: I know a bit about a lot of subjects, a true jack of all trades, master of none.

19. Cut class

Meaning: Miss class without permission.

Example: He cut class to hang out at the café.

20. Bookworm

Meaning: Someone who reads a lot.

Example: She’s a real bookworm, always buried in a novel.

Idioms and Expressions Related to Learning


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