The phrase learning the ropes means to learn or understand how a to do or perform a job, task or activity.
I was wondering where that phrase came from, so of course, I did some searching on the internet. But just for fun... do think the origin of the phrase, "learning the ropes" comes from:
A - The Theater
When stage hands were learning a new play, they would have to learn the ropes that were used to raise and lower the correct scenery elements at the correct time.
B - Boxing
Young boxers would have to learn the ropes in order to help with bouncing back from an opponents punches and learn how to trap their opponent on the ropes in the boxing ring.
C - Sailing
On sailing ships, sailors would have to learn the ropes to know which hopes controlled which sails.
D - The Gallows
Hangmen would have to learn the ropes. The would learn the most effective way to execute prisoners when hanging them from a gallows. This includes everything from the most effective knots, setting the height correctly, and so on.
So what do you think?
You can find the answer at the free dictionary.