university of life
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- (idiomatic, chiefly Britain and Ireland) The real world as a source of instruction, as opposed to a formal education.
- I learned all I need to know from the university of life, not from books.
- 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, James Joyce →ISBN
- [BEAUFOY:] We are considerably out of pocket over this bally pressman johnny, this jackdaw of Rheims, who has not even been to a university.
- BLOOM: (Indistinctly) University of life.
source of education by adverse experience — see school of hard knocks