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.