learn new tricks


      • to suggest that it is difficult for older people to change their habits or ways of thinking
        Imply that older individuals are set in their ways and may resist trying new things or adapting to new situations

      • to imply that someone is not too old to acquire new skills or knowledge
        Express that individuals of any age can still learn and grow, regardless of their previous experiences or age

    Examples of learn new tricks

    • Despite being forty-five years old, John has shown that he's not too old to "learn new tricks". Over the past year, he has taken up painting and has already created a few masterpieces that have impressed his friends and family.

      In this context, "learn new tricks" refers to acquiring new skills or abilities, especially in later stages of life. Here, it means that John has surprised everyone by discovering a new talent for painting.

    • The company's sales team "learned new tricks" during their recent training program, which taught them how to use social media effectively to connect with customers and increase sales.

      Here, "learned new tricks" refers to acquiring new techniques or strategies, especially through training or education. The sales team has improved their skills by learning how to leverage social media for business purposes.

    • In order to cope with the demands of her job as a single parent, Sarah has had to "learn new tricks" such as juggling multiple tasks at once, working efficiently with limited time, and being flexible in unexpected situations.

      This use of "learn new tricks" emphasizes the need to adapt and be resilient in challenging circumstances. Sarah has had to develop skills that enable her to manage her responsibilities effectively despite the added pressures of being a single parent.

    • Samantha's boss told her that she needed to "learn new tricks" if she wanted to progress in her career. She interpreted this as meaning that she needed to improve her leadership abilities by taking on new challenges and responsibilities.

      In this context, "learn new tricks" implies acquiring new competencies, especially those that are necessary for career advancement. Samantha realized that her boss was encouraging her to take more ownership of her work and develop her leadership potential.

    • My old dog has learned some new tricks lately. She used to just sit and stay, but now she will fetch the ball too!

      The idiom "learn new tricks" refers to learning new skills or abilities, especially after a certain age. In this example, the dog has surprised her owner by learning a new trick, despite being older.

    • I never thought I could learn to play the guitar, but with some practice, I've finally picked it up.

      Again, the idiom "learn new tricks" is used in this example to describe how the speaker has learned a new skill. In this case, it's learning to play a musical instrument.

    • My boss has been teaching me how to use new software on the computer. I used to dread learning anything new, but it's actually been helpful!

      The idiom "learn new tricks" is used here to describe the speaker's willingness to learn something new, even if it was previously intimidating. The context is learning new software, but the idiom applies to learning any new skill or ability.

    • I've taken up painting as a new hobby, and I'm really enjoying learning all the techniques!

      In this final example, the speaker is using the idiom "learn new tricks" to describe learning a new hobby, which involves picking up various painting techniques. The idea of learning new tricks can apply to a wide variety of activities, from sports to arts and crafts to professional development.


    The idiom "learn new tricks" can carry two different meanings based on context. It can be used to suggest that older individuals are resistant to change and unlikely to try new things, or it can convey the idea that people of any age can continue to learn and develop. It serves as a reminder that growth and adaptation are possible at any stage of life.

    Origin of "learn new tricks"

    The origin of the idiom "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" dates back to the 16th century. The phrase first appeared in a book by John Fitzherbert in 1534, where it was used literally to refer to training animals. Over time, the saying evolved to become a metaphor for human behavior, particularly the idea that older individuals may be less willing or able to learn new things compared to younger people. The idiom has since become a common expression in English-speaking countries, reflecting the belief that habits and patterns become more fixed as people age.