The below sentence is from the Oxford online dictionary:

‘Professor Furia wears his learning lightly, but he deploys it to great effect.’

I would like to know what 'wear' means in that sentence. Does it mean to tolerate'?

2 Answers 2


If you wear something lightly, then you don't show it off. For example,

  1. You don't become president without clawing your way into the Oval Office, but voters prefer pols like JFK, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama who wear their ambition lightly. (source) (they don't draw attention to their ambition)
  2. I don’t always wear my knowledge lightly. I like learning, and I like passing on that knowledge. (source) (I don't always keep quiet about what I know, I like to share it)

So, "Professor Furia wears his learning lightly" means he doesn't flaunt it, he doesn't look like a know-it-all. Rather, "he deploys it to great effect", which means he takes advantage of his strength.


This sounds metaphorical to me. I read it as if it's treating 'learning' like it were 'clothes'. Something you figuratively wear.

Like heart in the idiomatic phrase to wear your heart on your sleeve.


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