This phrase was used when a person addressing other people said:

You went to school on us

  • 1
    If it's from here, then it means learned at our expense. If not, give us the context. Oct 6, 2016 at 10:03
  • You are right, this is exactly where I heard this phrase. Could you please clarify for me what exactly this means: learned at our expense. In that context does it mean that they copied us?
    – qwaz
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:13
  • The answer to your question is in the following paragraph, if you read it.
    – Mick
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:19
  • I've read the article. I'm unclear what the phrase means. I understand the words, but not he exact meaning. I came here to clarify. So I'd very appreciate a detailed answed that would clarify this for me.
    – qwaz
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:23
  • it's a bad and messy variation of "he schooled us". (which is simply the same as the older phrase "he taught us a lesson")
    – Fattie
    Oct 6, 2016 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Divide the sentence into two parts:

Our enemies went to school ...

means our enemies learned.

... on us.

means at our expense, i.e. we provided the means for them to learn.

"They studied our doctrine, our tactics, our equipment, our organization, our training, our leadership," he said. "And, in turn, they revised their own doctrines, and they are rapidly modernizing their military today to avoid our strengths in hopes of defeating us at some point in the future."

He's saying they were able to learn by studying the example we have provided.

In that context does it mean that they copied us?

No, it means they have learned how to operate against us, using their own methods.

  • 2
    qwaz, it's very much worth realising it is NOT a 'standard phrase', the General in question was deliberately using language in an odd way: he was making a new construction by changing-around other constructions. You see? Note that to my ear, for example, it just sounds: totally stupid. It sounds like the General is confused, was talking in a hurry, and can't express himself clearly. It sounds like he was "trying to say something clever", but since stupid, it just came out confused: indeed I'm still totally unclear what exactly he meant, having read the whole thing.
    – Fattie
    Oct 6, 2016 at 13:28
  • I appreciate you pointing this out to me, this is good to know. Thanks.
    – qwaz
    Oct 8, 2016 at 8:47

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