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I know "À l'œuvre, on connaît l'ouvrier" is a proverb, but what does it mean?

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It means that one knows the worker by looking at his work.

À followed by a noun, like in this sentence, can introduce a means. It's somehow similar to known locutions such as à vue d'œil or à pied. Other common examples:

On le reconnait à la couleur.

Cela se juge au poids.

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