trick of the trade

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trick of the trade (plural tricks of the trade)

  1. (idiomatic) A shortcut or other quick, or very effective way of doing things, that professional workers learn from experience.
    • 1858, Thomas Carlyle, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, page 130:
      For the most part, he has some knack, or trick of the trade, which by close inspection can be delected, and so the heart of his mystery be seen into.
    • 1861, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 520,
      There is no trick of the trade which he does not know, no artifice which he does not which he does not habitually practise.
    • 2006, Ed van Hinte, Under Cover: Evolution of Upholstered Furniture, page 60:
      Most customers won't notice this trick of the trade, since the part is not sat upon.

Usage notes[edit]

  • This term most often appears as the tricks of the trade; indeed, for many speakers this is the only form. Such speakers typically use the locution one of the tricks of the trade. Other speakers use uncountable the trick of the trade to refer collectively to all such shortcuts and more efficient techniques.