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Thirty Back-to-School Idioms


  1. “An A for effort!” – a recognition of effort over achievement
  2. a bookworm – a keen reader
  3. a school of thought – a particular way of thinking, a particular philosophy
  4. a schoolboy error – a foolish mistake (usually made by someone who should have known better)
  5. a show of hands – collecting a vote by asking people to raise their hands in the air
  6. a teacher’s pet – a favourite student
  7. as easy as ABC – very easy
  8. copycat – someone who copies another’s behaviour/clothes/ideas/work
  9. eager beaver – someone who is very keen and hardworking
  10. old school – old-fashioned/traditional (usually said with approval or admiration)
  11. roll call – to find out who is present by calling out names
  12. single file – a line of people standing one behind the other
  13. to bunk off/to cut class – to play truant
  14. to cover a lot of ground – to get through a lot of work
  15. to crack a book – to open a book and study
  16. to draw a black – to find no conclusions/to receive no response
  17. to drop out – to stop attending school
  18. to fill in the blanks – to supply the missing information (usually on a worksheet when within a school context)
  19. to flunk – to fail
  20. to go back to basics – to return to the essential principles of a subject
  21. to hit the books – to begin to study hard
  22. to know/learn something off by heart – to know something from memory/to memorise something
  23. to learn something by rote – to memorise something without giving any thought to its meaning
  24. to learn the ropes – to learn how to do something/to learn how a place runs
  25. to make the grade – to succeed/to reach the necessary standard
  26. to pass with flying colours – to pass with excellent results/full marks
  27. to put one’s thinking cap on – to think over a problem and try to find solutions
  28. to school someone in something – to educate someone in something
  29. to snitch on/to tell tales – to inform the teacher on another student who is breaking the rules
  30. to teach someone a lesson/to learn your lesson – to punish someone in a way that makes sure they know they have made a mistake/to learn from a previous mistake

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?

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