Idioms about Thinking and Learning | List of Thinking and Learning Idioms With Meaning and Examples

Idioms about Thinking and Learning: There are various parts of speech in the English language, and students can learn about these to enrich their knowledge about the subject. We can learn some interesting idioms and use them in our day-to-day life. The article contains a group of non-literal phrases that is used to describe something else. Just like in other languages, English also has idioms, and people use Thinking and Learning idioms and phrases quite commonly worldwide.

This article provides a list of Thinking and Learning idioms a to z and defines various Thinking and Learning idioms and meanings in detail for your convenience and ease of identifying them.

Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understanding their actual meaning.

Name of Thinking and Learning Idioms

List of Thinking and Learning Idioms

Meaning and Examples of some commonly used Thinking and Learning idioms

Blue sky thinking

Meaning: It means that thinking is not limited to commonly accepted norms and beliefs.

Example: People said that Einstein was a fool when he was growing up but his blue sky thinking has led to some of the greatest scientific advances of all time.

Brush up on

Meaning: to refresh or re-familiarise oneself with a topic or an issue

Example: I need to brush up on the factorials before attempting to discuss them on Monday.

Come around to

Meaning: It means that one is starting to accept and support something or someone after initially opposing it.

Example: She will eventually see what’s right and come to our side.

Come up with

Meaning: It means that one is devising a plan to produce something.

Example: Who came up with the idea for this advertisement?

Face up to

Meaning: It means that someone has to deal with something unpleasant in a direct way.

Example: We all have to face up to our problems before they get the better of us.

Figure out

Meaning: It means to discover or determine a way to do something.

Example: We should work as a tea, to figure out a way to solve this.

Idioms about Thinking and Learning 1

Get one’s thinking cap on

Meaning: it means that someone has begun thinking or considering a problem very carefully and seriously to solve a problem.

Example: If we all get out thinking caps on, we can come up with a way to make our company rise to the top.

Go to your head

Meaning: This idiom means that someone is arrogant and they think that they are better than most other people.

Example: Fame and money have gone to his head and now he feels he is the best.

Have your wits about you

Meaning: It means that someone is able to think quickly and can make a sensible decision within a short time.

Example: She at least managed to keep her wits about her and clear the situation carefully.

Hit upon/ on

Meaning: To discover or realise something or to address or focus on something

Example: She could finally hit upon the reason why the experiment has been failing constantly.

In the dark about

Meaning: It means that you don’t know much about something because others are keeping it a secret from you.

Example: We are very much in the dark about how the money was embezzled from our company last month.

Know what’s what

Meaning: It means to know the important facts of a situation from the rest

Example: You must know what’s what when you want to draw the line between personal and professional things.

Idioms about Thinking and Learning 2

Make out

Meaning: to try to grasp the meaning of something

Example: She tried to make out what really happened between them that evening that led to the disaster.

Mull over

Meaning: It means that someone is giving serious and careful thought to something.

Example: You can mull over the idea for a while and then let me know what you decide.

Not have a leg to stand on

Meaning: This idiom means that someone does not have any way of proving something.

Example: If you have no eye witnesses, then you don’t have a leg to stand on anymore.

Not see the wood for the trees

Meaning: It is used to say that someone cannot understand the important facts in a situation since they are thinking too much about the small details.

Example: He can’t see the wood for the trees regarding the true motive behind the political rally.

Piece together

Meaning: to bring together various parts of form a complete thing

Example: The police had to piece together the reports from several witnesses to get an accurate understanding of what had happened.

Put one’s thinking cap on

Meaning: It means that one is thinking or reflecting seriously about something

Example: I need to put my thinking cap on to come up with a new slogan.

Put two and two together

Meaning: It means that someone is guessing what happened or trying to determine what happened based on the facts that they saw or heard.

Example: I know that she is having an affair since I saw them out together and I put two and two together.

Puzzle out

Meaning: The act of understanding of finding something such as an answer difficult to answer by careful thinking.

Example: She puzzled out the meaning of the weird phrase.

Quick/ slow on the uptake

Meaning: It means that someone is taking little/ a long time to understand or realise something.

Example: He is a little slow in the uptake so you might have to repeat the instructions again.

Read up on/ about

Meaning: It refers to reading someone or something to increase their knowledge about a person or topic by reading about then or it.

Example: I better read up on these materials before I go to class tomorrow.

Ring a bell

Meaning: This idiom means that something sounds familiar to you although you cannot recall the exact details.

Example: The name Dennis rings a bell but I cannot remember where I saw him last or where he works.

Round the bend

Meaning: Crazy or insane

Example: I would tell you if you were going round the bend for your own sake.

Split hairs

Meaning: It means that someone is arguing or worrying about minute details or differences that are unimportant at the moment.

Example: Half of the cases they complained about were not on the list but let’s not split hairs and waste our time.

Swot up on

Meaning: This idiom refers to studying very intensely in a short time; to cram something.

Example: I have been trying to swot up my Japanese before we fly to Tokyo next week.

Take in

Meaning: to receive into the mind

Example: I took in the view of the towering mountain surrounded by the fog.

Take stock of

Meaning: It means that you have decided to spend some time thinking about the situation you are in before you decide what to do next.

Example: After two years teaching in a foreign country, she returned home for a month to take stock of her life.

Think out loud

Meaning: to verbalise one’s though while trying to produce a solution or conclusion about something

Example: Don’t think that those were suggestions for a solution. I was just thinking out loud.

Think big

Meaning: It means that someone has a grand or ambitious plan or idea.

Example: It is obvious that the company’s CEO was thinking big when they came up with the idea for their product.

Think greatly of

Meaning: It means that one has a very good opinion about someone and holds them in high regard or esteem.

Example: I can truly say that your last boss thinks greatly of you judging from the reference letter she wrote for you.

Think long and hard

Meaning: It means that you should consider something very carefully and thoroughly.

Example: You had better think long and hard before you say your next word since you are on thin ice.

Think nothing of

Meaning: This idiom means that you don’t have any regard or concern for someone or something else.

Example: Her boss seems to think nothing of you judging by the way she speaks ill about her.

Think inside the box

Meaning: to have a conventional or uncreative way of thinking or producing ideas.

Example: If we keep coming up with plans thinking inside the box, we will not be able to survive in the race.

Think outside the box

Meaning: to think of an idea that is outside or beyond the usual or traditional guide; creative thinking

Example: We can impress the CEO only if we think outside the box.

Think to (one)

Meaning: This idiom means that someone has an inner monologue and to make a statement to one’s own mind before saying it out loud.

Example: I am sure they don’t think to themselves, “What if what we are doing is wrong?” They just don’t care.

Think twice

Meaning: to give careful consideration to someone or something and be cautious

Example: You should think twice before quitting your job.

Think over

Meaning: to reconsider or thoroughly contemplate something before committing to something

Example: You must think over the decision to sue the company since you know so little about their weaknesses.

Think one owns the place

Meaning: It means that someone is behaving in a haughty or arrogant way.

Example: Have you seen the way the contractor was speaking? He must think he owns the place telling us how to do our jobs!

Think (someone or something) is fit for (someone or something)

Meaning: to consider or regard someone or something is ideally suited for someone or something else

Example: I don’t think a lowlife like him is fit for my sweet daughter.

Think the better of (one)

Meaning: It means that someone has an improved opinion of someone else and holds them in higher regard than previously.

Example: Your teacher will think better of you if you stand up for yourself.

Think (someone) hung the moon and the stars

Meaning: This idiom means that someone thinks themselves to be extraordinary, the best or exceptional.

Example: His little sister adores him and thinks he has hung the moon and the stars.

Think through

Meaning: This idiom means that you consider or reflect upon something to arrive at a solution or to understand a subject deeply.

Example: I don’t think the party thought through the long lasting effects of the bill.

Think up

Meaning: To devise a plan or invent something through thinking

Example: He thought up the story while we were on the train to the next state.

The thinking man’s/ woman’s crumpet

Meaning: It refers to a person who is both intelligent and attractive and hence is sexually attractive.

Example: She is trying to present herself as the thinking man’s crumpet, always carrying around those books.

To be lost in thought

Meaning: It means that someone is completely consumed by thought that is often to the point of being totally unaware of their surroundings.

Example: Whenever I am doing something creative, I get lost in thought.

To burn the midnight oil

Meaning: It means that someone has to study or work late at night.

Example: Many prefer to burn the midnight oil and study at night, but I prefer doing it in the evenings.

To burn the candle at both ends

Meaning: It means that you are going to bed late and waking up early.

Example: I have a bad habit of burning the candle at both ends and I should really get some rest.

To catch on

Meaning: To catch on means that one understands something though they were not initially able to comprehend it.

Example: My mother could not understand how to use Facebook but she finally caught on.

To cram

Meaning: to study a lot or extensively before an exam

Example: The test is not something you can cram for. You really have to start studying weeks in advance.

To daydream

Meaning: It means that someone is fantasizing about something instead of paying attention to their surroundings.

Example: He isn’t a bad student but he has a tendency to daydream during class hours.

To draw a blank

Meaning: To draw a blank means to not be able to remember anything about a topic

Example: Every time she tried to think of the answer to the question, she drew a blank.

To hit the books

Meaning: It means that someone is studying.

Example: The final exams are next week and I haven’t hit the books yet.

To learn by heart

Meaning: This specific idiom means that someone is completely memorising something.

Example: For the next week’s assignment, we have to recite a poem and learn it by heart.

To my/ your way of thinking

Meaning: We use ‘to my way of thinking’ to a statement to indicate that we are giving our opinion.

Example: To my way of thinking, it seems that the problem isn’t so terribly difficult.

To pull an all-nighter

Meaning: This specific idiom means that you start an evening with work and don’t stop during the night to sleep; and instead you work till the morning.

Example: I think I will have to pull an all-nighter to finish the project in time.

To rack one’s brain

Meaning: This idiom refers to thinking long and hard about a subject.

Example: I racked my brain to remember how to play the song but I can’t do it.

Wishful thinking

Meaning: This specific idiom refers to the act of wishing or hoping for something that is extremely less likely to happen.

Example: With all this traffic I guess it is just wishful thinking that I will get to the office in time.

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