know like a book

Idioms & Phrases

know like a book

Also, know like the back of one's hand or know backwards and forwards. Be extremely familiar with or knowledgeable about; understand perfectly. For example, I know Greg like a bookI'm sure he'll come, or I know this town like the back of my hand, or John knew his part backwards and forwards. The first of these hyperbolic idioms, dating from the early 1800s, has a close cousin in read like a book, which means "to discern someone's intent," as in I can read Greg like a book; also see under open book. The second (back of hand) dates only from the mid-1900s. Also see backwards and forwards, def. 2; inside out, def. 2; know all the answers.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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