know the ropes

This page is about the idiom know the ropes


If you know the ropes, you know how to do a job properly, or you know how things work and how to get things done.

For example

  • Anyone who's been doing the job for a few months should know the ropes by now.

  • We need someone to teach the new staff. Someone who knows the ropes and is good at explaining things.

See also "learn the ropes".

Origin: Possibly derived from the days of sailing ships when sailors learned how to tie knots and handle ropes that were attached to the sails. A sailor who knew all this was said to "know the ropes".

Quick Quiz

Mario must know the ropes by now. It's been six months since he

a. first made them

b. first used them

c. first worked here

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey