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Idiom

Brush Up On: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
To improve your knowledge of something or re-learn a skill that you have not practised in a long time.
Origin
brush up onOriginally, the phrase ‘to brush up’ meant to refresh the appearance of a piece of clothing by brushing it (e.g. a hat, a coat or a pair of shoes). Nowadays, the meaning has become wider and it is used as an idiom meaning to refresh your knowledge of something.
Examples
“The orchestra is looking for new musicians. I’m thinking of applying but I need to brush up on my violin skills first.”

“If you’re planning on looking for a new job soon, I really think you should brush up on your computer skills.”

Javier: “I just booked an English course at Bloomsbury International. I can’t wait!”
Paola: “That’s great. Are you planning on taking an exam?”
Javier: “No, I just want to brush up on my speaking skills – I haven’t spoken much English in years.”