Idiom: parrot-fashion

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parrot-fashionTo do something parrot-fashion is to memorize or repeat something without thinking about it or understanding it.

A parrot is a talking bird and ‘parrot-fashion’ means ‘like a parrot’.

British and Australian informal English.

Examples of use:

1. He learnt it parrot-fashion.

2. Some people think that conjugating verbs parrot-fashion is not the best way to learn them.

3. I learnt my multiplication tables by repeating them parrot-fashion.

4. She could recite Shakespeare’s Hamlet parrot-fashion, but couldn’t answer the exam questions about it.

5. He gave his speech to the crowd parrot-fashion and after five minutes they stopped listening.

6. He learned the periodic table parrot-fashion.

Learning by rote is sometimes called learning parrot-fashion by people who don’t think rote learning is very effective.

Have you learnt anything by rote?


Angela Boothroyd

Angela Boothroyd

Freelance writer, English language teacher, at Botanical Linguist
Hi, I'm Angela, the creator of the Botanical Linguist site. I'm a freelance writer, linguist, and qualified English language teacher. I specialize in writing online course content, and blog posts and articles about business, education, and the English language. I’m also a writing coach for non-native users of English who want to blog better in English.
Angela Boothroyd
Angela Boothroyd


  1. Love this post, Angela, it’s always fun to use British idioms o’er the pond and get blank looks!

    Is there any rule about the hyphen though?
    sally recently posted..Pfizer’s palbociclib data in ER+ breast cancer – hit or miss?My Profile

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